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Former Sacramento police officer accused of 'inappropriate communication' with 15-year-old girl

Daniel Donahue resigned from the Sacramento Police Department during the investigation.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A former Sacramento Police Department officer has been arrested for allegedly having inappropriate communication with a 15-year-old girl through social media. 

According to a press release from the Sacramento Police Department, Daniel Donahue worked with the police department for two years. He was still working for the police department on March 9 when officials received a complaint about the alleged communication between Donahue and the girl.   

Kathy Benjamin claims Donahue asked her 15-year-old niece, who lives in Minnesota, to visit him. When her niece told Donahue her age, he allegedly responded, "Then I'd fly out there. Let me have a chance with you." 

"I was like wow," Benjamin said. "Then, from then on out, he was still sending pictures of himself in uniform."

Sacramento police say they immediately began a criminal and administrative investigation into the allegations. Donahue was placed on administrative leave when the initial investigation determined the complaint was based on fact, according to police. 

Police looked further into the complaint, including serving several search warrants at Donahue's home, his personal vehicle, workspace, and electronic devices. 

Donahue resigned from the police department during the investigation. 

Donahue was arrested Wednesday, March 24, on charges related to inappropriate communication with a minor. Police say he will be booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail.  

“The Sacramento Police Department does not and never will tolerate this criminal behavior from our officers,” Sacramento Police Department Chief Daniel Hahn said. “This behavior tarnishes the Sacramento Police Department badge and is absolutely not representative of the honorable work of our more than 1,000 members who are dedicated to serving our City. It is critical we hold people accountable when they victimize the most vulnerable members of our community – especially when they are in a position of authority. Though Donahue resigned, we have filed criminal charges against him. We will continue to work with the victim in this case and I am profoundly sorry for what this person did while being a member of our department.” 

Detectives will continue investigating Donahue as they believe there are more victims. If you, or someone you know, may be a victim of a crime involving Donahue, contact the Sacramento Police Department's tip line at 916-277-1773.

Sacramento Police Officers Association President Timothy Davis issued the following statement on this incident:

“We hold police officers to the highest standards of integrity, compassion, and morality and we expect that any officer who chooses to serve Sacramento lives up to that standard in all of their conduct. Any officer who violates our trust, and the trust of the community, by failing to live up to that standard does not deserve to wear the badge.  

Former officer Daniel Donahue failed to live up to the standards we demand and expect from a member of our Association and a member of our department family.  While this case is still under investigation and the case has yet to be adjudicated, Donahue is no longer a member of our Association and we do not represent him.  

Those who commit criminal acts deserve to be held accountable by the criminal justice system, and we expect that justice will be served in this case.  

The Sacramento Police Officers Association represents amazing and dedicated employees of the Sacramento Police Department who do the difficult and dangerous task of protecting Sacramento and all those who live here.  We will continue to work to maintain the highest standard of integrity among our members and strive to live up to the expectations of both our membership and the community they serve.”


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