Crime & Courts

Wichita police officer accused of helping woman avoid arrest

File photo

A Wichita police officer has been charged after he was accused of helping a woman with an outstanding warrant for her arrest avoid law enforcement.

Officer Matthew Powell was placed on unpaid administrative leave Wednesday after he was criminally charged, police spokesman Officer Charley Davidson said in a news release. The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office charged Powell with three misdemeanors: obstructing apprehension or prosecution and two counts of official misconduct.

“The charges stem from an incident in early May when WPD supervision learned of Powell allegedly assisting an adult female to avoid being located by police for her outstanding warrant,” Davidson said.

Wichita police did not describe how Powell allegedly helped the woman.

Powell has been with the department for seven years. He is a patrol officer, Davidson said.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case at the request of the Wichita Police Department. Powell was not arrested as part of the investigation. He is scheduled to appear in Sedgwick County District Court on July 17.

Prosecutors allege that on May 3, Powell harbored, concealed or aided Heather Doody, who had a misdemeanor warrant through Wichita Municipal Court. Under the official misconduct charges, prosecutors accuse Powell of using police resources and confidential information for someone’s private gain or to harm someone else.

Sedgwick County Jail records show a Heather Marie Doody was arrested by a different officer May 14 on suspicion of contempt of court and drug possession.

Contributing: Chance Swaim of The Eagle

Related stories from Wichita Eagle