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Bremerton police officer resigns amidst internal investigations
As last year drew to a close, a longtime Bremerton Police Officer quietly resigned in lieu of termination in the midst of two separate internal affairs investigations. Documents obtained by the Patriot through a public records request outline the investigations into Officer Alan Hornburg’s conduct while on duty.
Hornburg resigned Dec. 6, just four days after an investigation began into allegations that while working in uniform he received oral sex from a woman approximately once or twice a month over the last two to three years. A different investigation, spearheaded by two Internal Affairs officers from the Tacoma Police Department, was initiated following an incident at the Oyster Bay Inn this past October. Allegations in that case stem from Hornburg’s reportedly slow response to the high-priority call while he was the officer-in-charge and alleged dishonesty in later explaining his behavior.
Neither investigation was completed due to Hornburg’s resignation. He first joined BPD in Nov. 1979 and his official retirement date was Dec. 31, according to the Bremerton Human Resources Department.
According to heavily redacted documents, the investigation into Hornburg’s sexual misconduct while on the job was initiated by a third party who said Hornburg may have had sexual relations with a woman who was later identified and interviewed.
The woman, whose identity has been redacted from the reports, told investigators that she has been in an on-again, off-again intimate relationship with Hornburg for 30 years and that relationship became more intimate in the last decade. She said she never had intercourse with Hornburg while he was on duty. Apart from Hornburg touching her through her clothes, no sexual activity occurred in a police vehicle, according to the woman.
The unidentified woman said she performed oral sex on Hornburg one or two times a month over the last two to three years at the bunkers at NAD Park. She also performed oral sex on him two to three times in the last year at the watershed. Despite spending hours in his patrol car or the department’s watershed Jeep, the woman said she never signed a ride-along waiver so that Hornburg’s “other half would not find out about it.”
The last encounter between the woman and Hornburg is alleged to have taken place two months prior to the investigation getting underway.
The other internal affairs investigation stems from an Oct. 21 assault-with-gun call at the Oyster Bay Inn off Kitsap Way. When Hornburg was asked to write a memo detailing his actions, several red flags were raised and his honesty was called into question. Hornburg was notified of the investigation Nov. 1 and was placed on paid administrative leave that same day.
According to the incomplete investigation documents, Hornburg responded to the call from downtown near Sixth Street and Park Avenue. He told investigators he shut down his “code response,” lights and sirens and increased speed, while en route because information emerged that the situation was under control. Other officers, though, including a captain responding from headquarters who actually followed Hornburg to the scene was surprised to witness Hornburg driving to the motel without his lights activated. Automatic Vehicle Location data and 911 dispatch records also contradicted Hornburg’s version of events.
Captain Tom Wolfe, the superior officer who witnessed Hornburg’s slow response during the call, later said he thought Hornburg was “doggin’” the call. Wolfe elaborated this week on what he meant by saying, “You’re leaving your partners hanging out there is what you’re doing. They’re dealing with a guy with a gun and you’re going 25 miles per hour.”
During one of several interviews included in the case file, Wolfe told investigators, “You know, the way I envision this is, why didn’t you (Hornburg) run code to this call and why didn’t you go to the scene? It was a big deal. And now he’s just kind of, well, here, yeah, I did run code and then I didn’t need to and oh, yeah, I did go to the scene afterwards. And see, I’m all good. And why you would do that, I don’t know. Why not just say, yeah, I, I just didn’t put the effort into this I needed to.”
Hornburg also told investigators that although he was the officer in charge, he understood two superior officers, Capt. Wolfe and Lieutenant Peter Fisher, to be on scene ahead of him and so he instead helped set up containment nearby. He said he then responded to a panic alarm at the Boys and Girls Club before returning to the scene.
Hornburg claimed to eventually arrive back at the Oyster Bay Inn and said he spoke with another officer, who denied that the encounter ever took place. That officer eventually told Chief of Police Steve Strachan, “I ain’t gonna lie for anybody,” when asked about the day’s events and whether or not Hornburg ever showed up at the motel.
Chief Steve Strachan, who was reached this week while out of town for a family matter, said the internal affairs investigations into Hornburg’s alleged misconduct and dishonesty were handled with the utmost professionalism.
“What we strive to do is be consistent and fair in the way we treat our officers,” Strachan said. “In this case, facts were presented to us, we did a comprehensive investigation and this officer chose to resign. This is what good departments do. If we have facts and information in front of us, we investigate those thoroughly, treat people fairly and strive to reach the right solutions.”