January 6, 2011 RM xxxx x xxxxx Rd. Bellingham WA 9822x 360-223-xxxx xxxxxxxxx@hotmail.

com To Whom It May Concern: The following is a statement in regards to the knowledge I have about the past relationship between Kristin Cavender and Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Chief Steve Cooley. Everything in this statement is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, although any absence of a date when an event occurred is due to my inability to accurately remember when it happened. Ms. Cavender met Deputy Cooley in the WCSO Explorer’s program when she would participate in ride-alongs as part of the program. She started the program while we were in high school, about the time we were sophomores or juniors (2003-2004). I do not know exactly when their relationship became more than a professional/mentoring relationship for at the time I was unaware of such a development. She did not begin to tell me that she had romantic feelings for him, had told him how she felt, and what went on between them until about the time she enlisted in the Air Force in early 2005. Kristin met with Mr. Cooley numerous times outside of on-duty ride-alongs, mostly after she stopped participating in the explorer’s program. At first I did not think anything of it, for Kristin had told me that Mr. Cooley thought of her as a daughter. After a time, Kristin seemed to be less and less happy about the relationship her and Mr. Cooley had. She seemed to increasingly feel uneasy about spending time with him. Some of the things I learned about their relationship I learned directly from in-person and telephone conversations with her, although I usually learned more details from my father’s conversations with her:

The first time Kristin told me about the change in her relationship with Mr. Cooley, she told me that she felt guilty. During the conversation I asked her if the two of them had done “anything more than talk”, and she reluctantly responded yes. I asked her if the two of them had “gone all the way” (as in, had sex), and she responded no. When I tried to ask for specifics she became evasive and did not want to continue that line of conversation. I cannot remember exactly at what point in time this incident occurred, but I believe it was while she was on leave in 2006. I received a call from her late one night, and during the call she was walking back to her grandmother’s apartment from Mr. Cooley’s house. After a few minutes of conversation she became extremely agitated when she saw a car she believed to be Cooley’s that appeared to be following her. She repeated “I’m freaking out” and “Oh my gosh, Rachelle” several times. Kristin was certain that it was Mr. Cooley


January 6, 2011 following her, and she sounded very disturbed and anxious. She later told me that on that night Mr. Cooley had given her a glass of wine (she was not of legal drinking age at that time) and she later woke up on the couch with no recollection of what had occurred after having the drink. It was at that point that she no longer wanted to be at his house, and decided to walk home.

Mr. Cooley would often become upset or angry if Kristin changed plans they had made together, or decided to not see him at all. On one occasion, he showed up at her grandmother’s apartment and demanded that she get out of bed to see him. I believe the conversation occurred over the phone and that he did not enter the apartment, but nonetheless his behavior was very distressing to her. Mr. Cooley told Kristin that he was in the process of getting a divorce from his wife, and seldom spoke to her. Sometime in 2006 he had left a vehicle of his at my parent’s house to have some mechanical work done to it, and his wife picked him up the day he dropped off the vehicle. When I told Kristin this during a phone conversation approximately 2 weeks later, she seemed confused as to why Mrs. Cooley was around and thought it was “really weird”. She asked me several times on different occasions if I was sure that it was Mr. Cooley’s wife who came to get him. At one time she received a card in the mail from Mr. Cooley. I do not know what he handwrote in the card, but the message read “The birds do it, the bees do it, and we should too”. I know that he had sent other letters or cards as well, but I don’t know what the contents were. Mr. Cooley told her on a few occasions that he felt like she was using him. It was not clear to me what he may have thought Kristin was using him for.

For as much as Kristin confided to me, she confided more details to my father. I am not sure why she didn’t want to tell me very much about that relationship. In the past year or two, whenever the subject would come up, Kristin was very adamant about not wanting to remember what happened and wanted the issue to “just go away” and be over. In these conversations she would repeatedly blame herself for what occurred between her and Mr. Cooley. My arguments about his blatant disregard for personal responsibility, for upholding his profession’s ethics and for disregarding the law did not have any affect on her opinion. Kristin had previously strongly desired to pursue a career in law enforcement when her enlistment is over, but she now believes that will be impossible because of what went on between herself and Mr. Cooley. I find it absolutely disgusting that an individual such as Mr. Cooley would be allowed to continue his career with the Sheriff’s Office, and has even been promoted on two occasions since the investigation regarding this issue. He clearly crossed an ethical line as well as considered himself above the law while employed at the WCSO. An individual who poses as trustworthy and respectable while claiming to be separated from his wife to


January 6, 2011 pursue a young woman at least 15 years his junior, furnishing alcohol to a minor and behaving predatorily in nature is obviously unfit to wear a law enforcement badge. Even more, to have the situation covered up and for the department’s administration to treat the reporting party, a fellow law enforcement officer, in such a reproachful manner and with flat out contempt is astonishing. “As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to…protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation…” “I will keep my private lift unsullied as an example to all…” “…I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my department.” (Excerpts taken directly from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Code of Ethics as displayed on the department website.) In closure,



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