Crime - Sacto 911

Ex-Sacramento cop appears in court on drug charges

Isaac Knutila
Isaac Knutila

Isaac Knutila returned to a Sacramento courtroom Thursday in his first court appearance since resigning from the Sacramento Police Department after his arrest on drug and weapons charges last month.

Knutila arrived outside Sacramento Superior Court Judge Curtis Fiorini’s second-floor courtroom in a black suit, striding to meet with his defense counsel Michael Wise and smiling as he huddled with family and supporters.

He will return to Sacramento County Courthouse on Jan. 12. The break allows Wise to review evidence handed over Wednesday by Sacramento County district attorney’s prosecutors.

Knutila faces two felony counts including unlawful possession of narcotics while armed and felony possession of an assault weapon and remains free on bail.

Knutila, 45, was a patrolman and 16-year department veteran when he was arrested off-duty Nov. 4 with what authorities said were “usable” amounts of drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin and carrying his loaded .40-caliber service pistol.

Sacramento police later found Knutila to be in possession of a Ruger .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle.

At Knutila’s November arraignment, Wise said that his client has an “addiction issue.”

Sacramento police began its probe of Knutila in October after a tip by another law enforcement agency that Knutila had been spotted in an area known for prostitution. Officials later confirmed the department is reviewing Knutila’s past arrests and continuing its investigation into the former officer’s conduct on and off duty.

On Dec. 5, a month and a day after the hotel arrest, Knutila resigned from the police force on threat of being dismissed by the department.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith