A hooker, motel room & racy photos bring down YPD's golden boy

A hooker, motel room & racy photos bring down YPD's golden boy

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Text messages and racy pictures of a prostitute. That, along with a hotel visit spelled the end of Erik Hildebrand's career with the Yakima Police Department.

KIMA dug deeper into the internal investigation surrounding the former gang sergeant.

Gang Sergeant Erik Hildebrand seemed to be YPD's golden boy. Good looking, well spoken and an officer who prosecutors say helped put away heavy-hitting gang members. 

However, the internal investigation that wound up ending his career paints a different picture. It all centers on what was supposed to be a routine prostitute sting.

Police documents indicate Hildebrand's trouble began with the arrest of a prostitute and her pimp. The officers involved in the sting took a laptop computer for evidence.

Records from the internal review say Hildebrand went through the laptop without a search warrant and looked at racy pictures of the prostitute used to advertise her services.

Police documents state she was with Hildebrand as he looked at the photos and complimented her for different poses. The woman told internal investigators the sergeant seemed upset that she didn't show enough skin.

Investigation records provide this text exchange that started with a message from Hildebrand to the prostitute that reads, "Really?? No totally nude pics on the damn computer."

She responded, "U must be a freakish guy, call me back."

Hildebrand texted again, "lol ya I am :) I will and I can bring your beer in a bit if you don't fall asleep?"

The internal investigation recorded 22 messages back and forth along with phone calls.

Police documents say Hildebrand showed up at her room with beer around 4:00 a.m. on paid overtime and went inside against direct orders.

The records say the sergeant told the prostitute his unit would be off duty for days and could get to work without worrying about an arrest.

Hildebrand told investigators he was trying to help her get away from her abusive pimp.

YPD's Interim Chief Greg Copeland at the time is documented said in the report, "I'm not buying this at all."

Captain Rod Light agreed and both recommended Hildebrand be fired after determining he broke more than seven departmental rules.

Because of the misconduct all charges for the pimp where dropped.

Hildebrand was investigated nine times. He still had another investigation pending after this one. That investigation is now closed because he resigned.