Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ex-officer barred from police work for 2 years

A former Tempe officer accused of pursuing romantic encounters while on duty has been suspended from serving as an Arizona police officer for at least two years.

The Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board on Wednesday voted to suspend the certification of Jared Blanchard, 26.

"He became preoccupied with females on many, many calls," AZPOST presenter Bob Irish said.

Jared's pursuit of romantic relationships clearly led to neglect of duty on at least two occasions. Irish said.

"There's something about this that makes me incredibly uneasy," said AZPOST board Chairman Joseph Duarte.

Blanchard, a sworn officer since March 2007, resigned in lieu of termination in August 2009.

In one case, Blanchard pulled over a 21-year-old single mother near Tempe Marketplace and cited her for expired registration and no proof of insurance, according to Tempe police reports.

Blanchard got her number from the citation and texted "you are the prettiest girl I've ever pulled over."

Blanchard said he later had sex with the woman. He also admitted to pursuing romantic encounters with at least three others he met while on duty, some of whom were victims of crimes, according to an internal investigation conducted by the Tempe Police Department.

Asked this week about the Blanchard case, Sgt. Steve Carbajal, a Tempe police spokesman, said, "Obviously, we take these incidents very seriously. It's totally inappropriate and unacceptable to meet women on duty or men on duty and cultivate relationships on duty."

Blanchard was placed on desk duty in February 2009 after his neighbor called Mesa police to report that Blanchard, while off duty, had grabbed her breast while in her apartment in May 2008. Blanchard insisted it happened while the two were playfully touching.

The neighbor said she smoked marijuana and had drugs in her apartment when Blanchard was there, though he never used any. Officers are obligated to act when a crime is taking place.

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