California Police Officer Charged With Stealing Prescribed Pain Medication

pain-medicationMatthew Switzer, a California police officer, resigned on Monday after facing accusations of stealing prescription pain medications from seniors. Law enforcement arrested Switzer on April 4; the former officer is facing a number of different charges, including “burglary and elder abuse,” The Associated Press reports. “He is accused of using his position as a police officer to enter a senior living center to illegally obtain prescription drugs from residents, including Norco, a powerful combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone.”

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Prior to resigning, Switzer worked as an officer for the Concord police’s K-9 unit. At the time of his arrest, the former officer was in the process of taking a paid leave. As a result of the charges, police and legislators may revisit several cases. The arrest “now casts doubt on his credibility,” according to the AP. “We are going to be looking through our cases to determine what cases Officer Switzer plays a significant role in the investigation,” Contra Costa County Assistance Public Defender, Elizabeth Harrigan, told KTUV.

In one notable case, Switzer unleashed his police dog on a man he had pulled over. The man sustained several serious bites — enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, his attorney says. “The client claimed he ran from Switzer because the officer was acting unreasonably and unprofessionally,” KTUV continues.

Investigations of Switzer’s crimes are on-going. Police Chief Guy Swanger reveals that an anonymous resident alerted the authorities about Switzer stealing prescription medications from seniors in February. Swanger describes Switzer’s paid leave as a planned, administrative motion while police investigated. Switzer appeared in court on April 8.

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