A Lakewood police officer under investigation after an alcohol-related incident at the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Leavenworth resigned Friday in lieu of being fired.
Victor Celis, 42, and a member of the force for six years, resigned after being on paid administrative leave, Police Chief Bret Farrar said.
“He knew I was considering termination in this matter,” Farrar said.
The News Tribune was unable to reach Celis on Friday for comment.
Last month, Farrar launched an internal investigation into Celis’ off-duty behavior Oct. 9 at Oktoberfest. The chief gave this account of the incident Friday:
Celis was at the event with his wife and had been drinking . He was cut off at one beer garden and got into a heated argument with his wife when they went to find the shuttle back to their campground.
Bystanders who saw the argument approached the couple and asked whether she was OK. She said she was. Celis turned his anger toward the bystanders, prompting another party to contact Chelan County sheriff’s deputies patrolling the area.
Deputies arrived, and Celis became uncooperative and disrespectful. At one point, he pulled out his police badge “in an attempt to influence their decision,” Farrar said.
“It just continued,” the chief said.
The deputies calmed Celis and security officers gave him and his wife a ride back to their campground. Celis was not arrested or charged.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office called Lakewood police that night to verify that Celis worked for the department. The following Monday, Celis reported the incident to the assistant police chief, which is department policy.
The Internal Affairs investigation found that Celis exhibited conduct unbecoming an officer, Farrar said.
"He used his position as a police officer to influence criminal charges,” the chief said. He said he wasn’t going to put up with that conduct.
Farrar said Celis has a lot of skills and knows police work.
“I think he can be an effective police officer in the future if he resolves his issues,” he added.