Sgt. Tony Garcia resigned from the Soldotna Police Department on Friday. Garcia left the force, in part, because of the negative publicity that followed an allegation against him, he said.
"I've decided to move on. I needed to do what's best for me and my family," Garcia said. If not for the swelling controversy, Garcia said his resignation would "not (have come) at this time."
Garcia was placed on administrative leave in April after a "serious allegation" against him, Soldotna Police Chief John Lucking said. Lucking would not elaborate on the details of the claim, nor has he been willing to elaborate in recent weeks.
The Alaska State Troopers, who are conducting the investigation, also would not provide any details.
"Unless charges are actually filed against somebody, we can't release that," trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said. "We're not going to soil somebody's good name on something not proven in court."
Garcia has not been charged with any crimes relating to the allegation.
Lucking said Garcia was not coerced into leaving.
"He has made his decision of his own will and without a request or pressure to do so from the city," Lucking said. "I wish him well in his future endeavors, and I appreciate the contributions he made while working for the Soldotna Police Department."
Garcia has been with the Soldotna police since 2003, after retiring from 20 years with the U.S. Air Force. He was promoted to sergeant in May 2009.
In 2006, the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce recognized Garcia for "Devoted Service to Youth." In 2007, Garcia received the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's "Golden Apple." In 2008, Garcia received the Department's "Community Service Award" and was also awarded a "Commendation for Valor" for his work during the Central Peninsula Hospital shooting.
He has been the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Officer's Association president, the Kenai Community Care Center vice president and a Homer Electric Association board member. Garcia lost a bid for HEA board re-election earlier this month.
Andrew Waite can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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