LYNDEN -- A longtime Lynden police officer was arrested Friday, April 25, on suspicion of possessing child pornography.
Donald Glunt, 57, resigned Monday from his job at the Lynden Police Department. He had served as a patrol officer in the city for more than three decades.
Earlier this week the department's leadership reviewed Glunt's work cellphone because he'd been sending an inordinate number of text messages. Co-workers were shocked to find pornographic photos of a 16-year-old Texas girl on the phone.
Lynden Police Chief Jack Foster asked the chief of the Washington State Patrol to launch an outside investigation Wednesday. Detectives believe Glunt had been trading photos with the girl. Right now they're trying to figure out how long Glunt had been interacting with her, said State Patrol Lt. Ron Mead.
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Glunt agreed to meet troopers Friday afternoon at the Lynden Police Department, where he was taken into custody. He's suspected of possessing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
"It's saddening," Foster said. "We're sad for Officer Glunt, and for the shame for our police department and our city."
So far no photos of minors aside from the Texas girl have surfaced, but other digital media belonging to Glunt has been seized, Mead said. He could face more charges as the investigation unfolds.
Glunt will be held in Skagit County Jail, out of concern for his safety if he were housed with Whatcom County inmates.
In recent years - and as recently as February - Glunt led classes on behalf of Not For Sale and Hope4Justice, groups that warn the public about the dangers of sex predators and human trafficking.
Glunt also served as a volunteer firefighter for the city of Lynden for more than 20 years. The city's small police department had 14 commissioned officers at the end of 2012, according to its latest online annual report.
Glunt spent his entire career in Lynden, a town of about 12,000 people. Recently he'd talked about retiring.
"It's devastating to our police family here," Foster said. "But we feel we all have to face the consequences for our actions."