ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A well-respected veteran of the St. Petersburg Police Department has been busted for trying to pick up a prostitute, according to the chief of police, Anthony Holloway.
Many in the community and in the department are disappointed to learn the officer they’ve trusted for more than 20 years, with a crystal-clear record, was apparently involved in illegal activity.
According to the chief, an undercover officer noticed Officer Reginald Mitchell, 46, picking up a known sex worker near the 1300 block of 34th Street North, on his day off, in his personal vehicle, on Friday morning.
Officer Mitchell now faces a misdemeanor solicitation charge and was given the notice to appear.
The alleged sex worker, Amanda McLaughlin, faces a felony because police say she's been arrested on prostitution charges in the past.
“He's well-liked. He's one of our recruiters so he sets an example for us,” St. Pete Police Chief Holloway said. “It's very tough when you stop one of your own and you find out he's breaking the law, but I give the officers credit for it because they could have just let it go away, but they took action, right then and there.”
Mitchell’s personnel file has one negative entry in his 22-year career. He had lost a USB flash drive. Otherwise, his file is filled with ‘thank you’ notes from citizens.
Officer Mitchell is now on administrative duty, which means he's not on the streets. He's filing paperwork until an internal investigation and review are complete.