Community service officer arrested on DUI, unlawful contact charges

Posted 7/9/20

While off-duty in Cody on Saturday, the Powell Police Department’s community service officer was arrested on allegations that she drove drunk, punched her husband multiple times and prevented …

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Community service officer arrested on DUI, unlawful contact charges


While off-duty in Cody on Saturday, the Powell Police Department’s community service officer was arrested on allegations that she drove drunk, punched her husband multiple times and prevented him from calling 911.

Anna Paris, 54, was arrested by Cody police on the afternoon of July 4.

Paris has been charged with three misdemeanor crimes in connection with the incident: driving while under the influence of alcohol, unlawful contact and interference with an emergency call.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges in Park County Circuit Court Monday afternoon and was released on a $1,000 bond shortly after that.

Paris has served with the City of Powell for more than 30 years.  Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt said Wednesday that Paris remained an employee with the department. As for Saturday’s arrest, Eckerdt said that “we have policy and procedure in place to review and address the issue at hand and that’s where we are.” He noted that state law generally requires confidentiality related to personnel matters.

Cody police had been called to a parking lot on Big Horn Avenue around 4 p.m. Saturday for a report that two people in a vehicle were punching each other. According to charging documents, responding officers ultimately determined that Anna Paris had been driving back to Powell with her husband when the couple got into an argument.

Paris reportedly told police that her husband, Greg Paris, had become upset and tried grabbing the steering wheel, because he wanted to stay in Cody, the documents say. She said he was drunk and “had some problems,” Officer Eric Wright wrote in an affidavit, but she “could not complete a sentence that I could comprehend about the condition of her husband.”

While speaking to Anna Paris, Wright said he “could smell the moderate smell of an alcoholic beverage coming from Paris’ person.”

“I asked [Anna] Paris if she had been drinking alcohol and she said yes, but not too much,” Wright wrote in an affidavit, saying she recalled having about four beers.

The officer said Paris failed sobriety tests, including being unable to fully complete a walk and turn test and one-leg stand, and “refused to submit to a portable breath test.”

After being arrested, Paris consented to a blood draw, the affidavit says, and the sample will be tested to determine how much alcohol was in her system at the time.

For his part, Greg Paris reportedly told police that, while they were fighting about leaving Cody, “Anna Paris just started punching him and struck him in the face on three different occasions,” according to Officer Wright’s recounting of the conversation.

Greg Paris said he tried calling 911 two different times, but his wife “would take the phone out of his hands and punch him again,” Wright wrote. The officer didn’t observe any obvious injuries to Greg Paris, but his glasses had been bent enough that they had to be straightened with pliers.

At Monday’s hearing, Deputy Park County Attorney Jack Hatfield requested that bond be set at $1,000, cash or surety, which drew no objection from Anna Paris.

In recommending that amount, Hatfield cited “the serious nature of the charge” and argued the sobriety tests showed “a high level of intoxication.”

Hatfield also said he’d reviewed information indicating that, while off-duty on the afternoon of Sunday, June 7, Paris was found “passed out” inside a vehicle at the Rocky Mountain Car Wash “under suspicious circumstances.”

“Based on that, your honor, the state believes that she’s a public safety risk as far as driving,” Hatfield said, “and then obviously the nature of the charges involving the unlawful contact.”

Chief Eckerdt said the incident at the car wash was reported as a medical emergency; the police department’s only involvement, he said, was to assist emergency medical services personnel in their response.

While free on bond, Anna Paris is prohibited from visiting bars or possessing or drinking alcohol, among other conditions.

She will be allowed to continue to have contact with her husband after he said in court that he had no problem with that.

Greg Paris, 64, is currently serving five years of supervised probation in connection with a 2015 altercation in which he severely beat his wife.

The county attorney’s office sought prison time for the aggravated assault and battery in early 2017, but Anna Paris criticized authorities for prosecuting the case. She said it was an isolated event tied to her husband’s prior brain injuries and a brain tumor. Then-District Court Judge Steven Cranfill said it was a “serious, serious crime,” but imposed probation, noting the brain injuries and the treatment and counseling Greg Paris pursued after the assault.

As the department’s community service officer, Anna Paris is tasked with handling the majority of the city’s animal-related calls, along with parking and planning and zoning violations. Paris also assists with car seat checks, tours of the police station and other community activities. She is not a sworn peace officer and, as a civilian employee, is not equipped with a firearm.

Anna Paris marked her 30th anniversary with the Powell Police Department in April and was formally recognized at the Powell City Council’s May 4 meeting. She was presented with a certificate signed by the chief, city administrator and mayor honoring her three decades of dedicated service.

A trial on the weekend charges is tentatively set for Aug. 27.