A former Sacramento police officer will likely receive probation for felony drug and weapons charges that led to his arrest and resignation from the department last year.
Isaac Richard Knutila pleaded no contest to a felony count of possession of a controlled substance with a firearm and a second felony charge of possession of an assault weapon on October 17, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
Knutila was scheduled Thursday for sentencing after reaching a plea deal with the district attorney. But the hearing was moved to January 11 to allow the parties time to pin down the terms of proposed probation, said Knutila’s attorney, Michael Wise.
Michael Blazina, an assistant chief deputy district attorney, said parole was a common resolution in such felony weapons and drug cases, “depending on the circumstances.”
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Knutila, 46, was arrested last November at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West Hotel in possession of “usable” amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Knutila also had his .40-caliber duty pistol with him, according to information released by the department at the time and a Public Records Act request made by The Sacramento Bee.
Knutila was later found to be in possession of an illegal .223-caliber Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle, police said. He resigned from the force last December.
Blazina said the district attorney’s office would not reopen any cases in which Knutila previously testified in his capacity as a police officer because the charges against him “did not involve issues of dishonesty ... there are no allegations of him having lied in an investigation or case,” said Blazina.
Blazina said the district attorney’s office “had a procedure in place that will alert” it if future cases arise in which Knutila was involved, but said he was not aware of any current cases that involved Knutila.
Between 2010 and 2016, Knutila was the primary or secondary arresting officer in 82 drug-related arrests, according to a Public Records Act request filed by The Bee last year. The city denied a request for the names of those people at the time, citing an ongoing investigation. The Bee again requested those names Thursday.
Knutila, a 16-year veteran of the force, patrolled in the Lemon Hill, Fruitridge and Power Inn neighborhoods, police said.
Prior to his arrest, Knutila was the focus of an internal affairs investigation after an outside law enforcement agency informed Sacramento police that the officer had been identified in an area known for prostitution, the department said last November. The department didn’t name the outside agency.
Knutila was arrested a few weeks later in the lobby of the Hilton hotel, where he was a registered guest, by undercover officers.
He was initially charged with four drug-related misdemeanor counts and a single felony charge for having a loaded weapon while in possession of drugs. The minor charges were later dropped, but the second felony was added after police retrieved an illegal weapon during a subsequent search.
Wise said after his arraignment last year that Knutila had “an addiction issue.”