By Erica Thomas, managing editor
BIRMINGHAM — Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith held a press conference on Tuesday, July 6, in response to one of his officers being arrested on drug and rape charges.
“This is a very difficult press conference and one no Chief of Police wants to give,” Smith said. “But in law enforcement, I believe in accountability and transparency.”
Matthew Wilcox resigned his position after an Internal Affairs investigation and search warrant at his home yielded illegal narcotics, multiple firearms, and drug paraphernalia, according to Smith. Smith said a complaint involved allegations of sexual misconduct by the officer.
“During the investigation, allegations were made that Officer Wilcox engaged in sexual intercourse with another person who was incapacitated and unable to consent by reasons of being incapable, which constituted Rape-I charges against him,” Smith said.
Wilcox was taken into custody and transported to the Birmingham City Jail after being charged with first-degree rape, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
He has been with the Birmingham Police Department since October of 2019 and worked as a UAB Police officer for nine years prior to coming to the city of Birmingham.
Smith said it is believed there could be more victims.
“We know that this was done through the use of very popular dating websites,” Smith added. “It has been brought to our attention that on different occasions, Officer Wilcox has used at least two very popular dating websites. He has also met with multiple women on those sites.”
Those victims are encouraged to come forward by calling the Birmingham Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at (205) 297-8413.