MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) – Troy Lowrie, the owner and operator of a string of strip clubs across the country, including five in the Denver metro area, can now be found handing out traffic tickets and enforcing the law in the town of Morrison near Red Rocks.
“It’s my form of charity,” said Lowrie. “I want to find a way to give back instead of writing checks.”
A CBS4 investigation learned that Lowrie, 48, applied for and was accepted to be one of 17 unpaid “reserve” officers in Morrison, working one day a week.
“I meet all the qualifications, I’m POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training) certified and I went to the police academy. I love what I do up here,” said Lowrie. “I hope I do some good things.”
CBS4 learned that the town of Morrison brought Lowrie on as a reserve officer after Lowrie donated $20,000 to the town in 2011 and 2012 that was then given to the police department. Morrison Police Chief Rudy Sandoval says Lowrie’s donations, which have been used to outfit the police department’s SWAT team, had no bearing on his decision to allow Lowrie to become a reserve officer.
“On my honor and my reputation,” said Sandoval — Lowrie’s contributions to the town did not persuade Sandoval to hire him. “Absolutely not.”
Sandoval knows his newest recruit brings with him some baggage and controversy.
“I’m not afraid of controversy as long as it’s fair and honest,” said Sandoval.
The chief said he has known Lowrie for 17 years since Sandoval was a Denver police commander in southwest Denver where one of Lowrie’s strip clubs, P.T.’s, is located. Sandoval told CBS4 he was comfortable hiring Lowrie because “he has divested himself from the interest in those places in Denver.”
“I’m not active in those businesses or involved in day-to-day operations and am solely a passive investor,” Lowrie said.
However, a CBS4 review of public records suggests Lowrie is still deeply involved in, and connected to the strip club business. Each of the five strip clubs renewed their state registrations earlier this year listing the same Lakewood address as their office. The company that holds an office there, VCG Holdings, is a company which lists Troy Lowrie as chief executive officer. On his Facebook page Lowrie still lists himself as the CEO of VCG, the parent company of the strip clubs and club liquor licenses, which were renewed earlier this year and list Lowrie or one of his entities as the majority owner of the clubs.
“I was originally told I should divest my interest in the liquor licenses,” said Lowrie. “But while that was in process the state law changed allowing a peace officer to have his or her name on a license … I have been fully transparent with the police academy, POST, my department, and the Colorado liquor board.”
Lowrie has also had his share of run-ins with the law. State records show Glendale police arrested Lowrie in 1987 for disorderly conduct. He was arrested in 1990 in Arvada for prostitution. In 2010 Westminster police arrested Lowrie for DUI and possessing a weapon while intoxicated. He later pleaded guilty in that case to driving while impaired. The weapons charge was dismissed.
In 2011 Denver police ensnared Lowrie in a prostitution sting. However at his first court appearance prosecutors dropped the charges against Lowrie, who said he was unfairly targeted and was not trying to cut a deal with a female Denver police officer who was posing as a hooker.
“There was a sting there and he got stopped and checked,” said Sandoval. “I checked on that and charges weren’t filed. Troy was a highly known, visible person in Denver. Things may happen that may not happen with other people.”
State records show that in August of 2012, while he was in the midst of taking courses to become certified as a police officer, Lowrie was charged in El Paso County with aiding the unlawful consumption of alcohol, a misdemeanor. He has entered a not guilty plea in that case and a trial is scheduled for Aug. 13.
Sandoval said none of Lowrie’s run-ins with law enforcement would preclude him from wearing a badge. Lowrie finished fourth in his police academy class out of 23 people and Sandoval said he has not received a single citizen complaint about Lowrie.
“To be honest with you he’s proven himself over and over. He’s learned the job well and treats the public courteously. I feel good about it,” said Sandoval. “Troy does a good job here and your past is your past. This is a feel good story.”
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com