Police officer deserved harsher sentence

Published 10:15 am Thursday, October 3, 2019

In law enforcement, you’re held to a higher standard and you should be.

Law enforcement officers are people who citizens are supposed to look up to and trust. In some cases, that means trusting them in life-or-death situations.

We are very fortunate in our community _ and across the state and country, for that matter _ that we have fine people in the law enforcement community.

Unfortunately, in any business, you’re always going to have bad apples who, through their selfish and sometime illegal actions, put a black eye on their peers.

For instance, look no further than former Franklin Police Department Lt. Vickie Kristiansen. In 2012, Kristiansen was assigned to the Southcentral Kentucky Drug Task Force when she became aware of the investigation into Dr. Roy Reynolds of Franklin.

At some point, Kristiansen met with Reynolds to make him aware of the investigation and advised him on steps he could take to avoid criminal charges, including shredding documents, not taking on new patients and avoiding putting his trash on the curb until trash day in order to stymie undercover investigators.

Reynolds was eventually charged in federal court and convicted of 15 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances, for which he is now serving a 50-month prison sentence.

Here’s one of several problems with this situation: Kristiansen knew she was an officer of the law, she knew she shouldn’t have involved herself in meeting with Reynolds and tipped him off about an ongoing investigation. She knew better than to advise him how to avoid criminal charges and knew better than to advise shredding documents and advising him when to take the trash out.

This was a clear obstruction of a criminal investigation by her, and we believe she, as an officer of the law, had to know that.

Kristiansen retired from the FPD last year, shortly after learning of the criminal charges against her.

On Monday in U.S. District Court, Kristiansen was sentenced after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding. She was fined $2,500 and placed on probation.

We believe that, considering the crime she committed, this is merely a slap on the wrist and that she deserved some jail time for conspiring to obstruct a criminal investigation.

One has to ask: If this had involved John Q. Citizen and not someone in uniform, would they have received the same sentence or a harsher one? We can only guess, but we surmise that it would have likely been a stiffer sentence.

Kristiansen’s sentence sends a bad message to the average citizen who isn’t a former or current law enforcement officer.

The Bowling Green Daily News