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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 15, 2018 1:00 am

Detective accused of trafficking tobacco

Allegedly worked with inmate at jail in Madison

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne police detective is facing charges he tried to get tobacco and other contraband to inmates from the Madison Correctional Facility in southern Indiana.

Robert D. Kirby, 54, was charged Oct. 24 in Jefferson Superior Court with trafficking with an inmate, a misdemeanor. He  has been a detective in the Fort Wayne Police Department's Vice and Narcotics Unit since 2002, according to department records.

Kirby allegedly “dropped” 28 bags of loose tobacco, 12 lighters, 10 packs of rolling papers and some electrical tape between two buildings at the former Jefferson County Proving Grounds, where inmates were working, in early September, a probable cause affidavit alleged.

Inmate Ashley Gaskill, 27, described Kirby as her boyfriend and allegedly told investigators she was helping to coordinate the drop with another unnamed inmate. She said in a videotaped interview Sept. 5 at the minimum security prison that Kirby wasn't supposed to deliver the items himself, the affidavit said.

“After the camera was turned off the offender made a statement that Robert Kirby is a police officer with the city of Fort Wayne ... and she wanted to keep him out of trouble if she could,” investigators wrote in court documents.

Kirby appeared in court in Madison on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty. A pretrial conference is scheduled Dec. 18.

He posted $500 bond.

He was reprimanded four times for traffic accidents in a department vehicle from 1991 to 2011, police department records show. He was awarded letters of commendation in 2008, 2013 and 2014, according to records, and received a meritorious service citation in 2002.

A police spokesman did not respond to a question asking whether Kirby had been placed on administrative leave.

Gaskill is serving a three-year sentence on burglary charges from Allen County, according to the Indiana Department of Correction. She could be released in October 2020, prison records said.