Fresno Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster resigns

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Keith Foster, the Fresno deputy police chief caught up in a federal drug trafficking investigation, is no longer a police officer.

"He was scheduled for an interview [Friday] at 2:30 with internal affairs," said Police Chief Jerry Dyer. "He's no longer a member of the Fresno Police Department."

The 51-year-old Foster resigned from the department just hours before the interview scheduled with Internal Affairs investigators looking into his alleged criminal activity.

Chief Dyer tells Action News this is one of the most challenging times he's ever faced personally and professionally. But he wants to restore confidence in his department and he says Foster's resignation is a good first step.

Deputy Chief Keith Foster's arrest came as a shock to hundreds of fellow officers, all the way up to the one man to whom he reported, Chief Jerry Dyer. His resignation was not nearly as surprising. Foster's union boss tells us it sends a message to other officers that he didn't want to drag them all down over a long investigation. But it's no confession.

"I wouldn't read into Deputy Chief Foster's resignation as some form of admittance of guilt," said Fresno Police Officers' Association president Jacky Parks.

An Internal Affairs investigation meant to provide answers about what happened is now suspended because Foster chose not to participate.

"He would take the Fifth Amendment" if he appeared for the IA interview," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi. "He's not going to tell them what happened here. Just by merely taking the Fifth Amendment, he's going to be fired."

But the department is still digging deeper: They're checking Foster's computer records and the work he was doing to see if there would be any effect on other investigations. They also want to know if similar problems can be prevented or minimized.

In court documents, Foster revealed a terrible financial situation, including a home in foreclosure, back taxes, and a large divorce settlement.

"Did you know about that and did that raise a red flag at all?" an Action News reporter asked Chief Dyer.

"I don't think it was a secret that Keith was going through some financial difficulties over the last few years," Dyer said. "But nothing to the degree that would cause someone to believe that he would go out and resort to criminal activity to offset those financial difficulties."

Capozzi says this case has put Chief Dyer on the hot seat, but he thinks Dyer is taking the best possible approach to handling the case by being transparent.

Foster is scheduled to be back in federal court on April 10.

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