RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico cop got himself into trouble after Homeland Security says he fell for the bait in an undercover sting.
Ruidoso Police Officer Daniel Balding was arrested last week after New Mexico State Police got a call from Homeland Security that he was engaging in sexually explicit conversations with an undercover agent, posing as an underage girl.
“In dealing with these kinds of situations, you never can prepare for them. We just try to make sure we do the best we can,” says Ruidoso Police Chief Darren Hooker.
According to an arrest warrant, State Police was contacted by an agent with the Department of Homeland Security in Minnesota. An agent was posing as a 15-year-old on the app, Whisper, looking for guys in uniform. That’s when they say Ofc. Balding responded with a picture of himself in uniform, in his police car.
The agent told Balding she was 15-years-old, but Balding allegedly continued with the conversation, even requesting nude photos and proposing to have sex with the girl and her underage friend.
Balding’s wife, Alison Balding, agreed to speak with KRQE News 13 on the phone. She insists the allegations against her husband are not true.
“I don’t believe that my husband is capable of having any sexual relations with an underage girl. We have a four-year-old daughter, and he is not that type of person,” she says.
On Wednesday, the Law Enforcement Academy sent a letter to Balding, suspending his law enforcement license following his arrest.
Balding has been charged with a fourth degree felony of child solicitation. A judge has released him on his own recognizance.
Officer Balding has been with the department for four years. He’s now on paid leave.