Monday, August 20, 2012

No felony charges for officer in DPS dog's death

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Arizona Department of Public Safety officer who left his K-9 partner in a hot squad car will not face felony charges in connection with the dog's death.

Officer Korey Lankow was placed on administrative leave after leaving Jeg, a drug-sniffing dog, in his squad car outside DPS headquarters in Tucson for more than an hour on July 11. The high that day was about 98 degrees, which means the temperature inside the car was probably in the 120-degree range.

Jeg suffered severe heat-related injuries and had to be euthanized.

Based on the criminal investigation conducted by the Tucson Police Department, the Pima County Attorney's Officer opted not to pursue felony charges against Lankow.

While he won't face felony charges in Jeg's death, The Tucson City Attorney's Office could still file misdemeanor charges.

Lankow, who has been with DPS since October 2005, and Jeg had been partners for almost three years. The 7-year-old Belgian Malinois had worked with another handler before being paired with Lankow.

According to investigators, Jeg was left behind when Lankow was sent on an emergency call while moving from one squad car to another. Lankow was en route to a crash scene when he realized Jeg was not with him.

He turned around to go back to his partner, but it turned out to be too late.

In addition to the TPD investigation, DPS has launched its own internal investigation to determine if Lankow followed proper procedure.

Jeg is the second Arizona law-enforcement dog to die after being left in a hot car.

Chandler police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy was charged with animal abuse after leaving his K-9 partner, Bandit, in a patrol car in August 2007. Bandit was left in the car, which was parked outside of Lovejoy's home, for 12 hours. He died from excessive heat.

Less than three weeks after Jeg's death, two K-9s in Bexar County, Texas died after being left in a deputy's hot patrol car overnight.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Phoenix Red Squad officer arrested for sex misconduct with teens

An officer assigned to the Phoenix PD's community relations division (aka The Red Squad) known for their political harassment of anarchist, anti-authoritarian, anti-cop, and Occupy Phoenix groups has been busted for sexual misconduct.  While the media makes a fuss over the charges that ended his career, his violent and abusive actions towards the valley's political rabble rousers remain unquestioned, as many more officers will fill the void left by Chris Wilson's abrupt retirement and arrest to continue the city's work of managing and attacking the space of social movements.  The above video shows officer Wilson in action, tackling a single protester who was giving senator John McCain a hard time a few years back.

A Phoenix police officer was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of sexual misconduct with two teenage boys, authorities announced Wednesday.

Officer Christopher J. Wilson, 43, was accused of 10 counts of sexual assault with a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old, said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia said at a press conference.

The 14-year-old informed his parents about the incidents. The parents called police Tuesday afternoon and detectives immediately sought more information, Garcia said.

The investigation began Tuesday afternoon and concluded at 8:15 p.m. with the 13-year veteran's arrest. He immediately resigned to escape termination, Garcia said.

Wilson admitted his involvement and charges imply that the actions were consensual, though law enforcement does not support the illegal engagements Wilson participated in, Garcia said.

"I'm extremely disturbed and disgusted by this conduct," Garcia said.

The sexual encounters occurred at several private locations, including Wilson's home, Garcia said.
Detectives found that Wilson had met the boys through community engagements that were undefined, Garcia said.

Garcia said he wants the community to know this is a transparent investigation.

Officials encourage anyone with additional information on this event or if there are other victims, to contact police, Garcia said.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hundreds of Arizona cops retire under scrutiny

Hundreds of officers across the Valley have handed in their badge - rather than face discipline.

CBS 5 Investigates found that in many cases, they took a full pension and benefits with them - seemingly retiring their troubles away.

"I served 23 years with absolutely no discipline," said former Phoenix Police Officer Philip Shores.

Shores is correct. Even though an internal audit found he mishandled nearly 80 percent of his child sex crime cases, he was never disciplined. Instead, he retired with a full pension.

"I've had no contact with the police department since I retired," Shores told CBS 5 News during an interview last week.

Shores is not alone.

"It's absolutely frustrating," said Chief Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.

He spoke candidly about the issue.

"We're in an atmosphere where we have to show transparency to our community and show accountability to our community," Garcia said.

The controversial practice of retiring to escape punishment extends across the state.

Take Goodyear Police Chief Mark Brown and commander Ralph McLaughlin - both were accused of covering up a hit-and-run that killed 18-year-old Jered Pendleton from Avondale. Both retired.

Lt. Col. Jack Hegerty with Arizona's Department of Public Safety accepted Arizona Diamondback tickets from an agency DPS regulates. Rather than face two days suspension for the conflict of interest violation, he retired.

This summer, Phoenix police Sgt. Arnold David got caught on surveillance allegedly pocketing several thousand dollars during a robbery call. He too, retired.

"I think the guy ought to go to prison," said Bill Louis, former Phoenix police assistant chief and IA investigator.

Louis spent years investigating officers that were accused of violating policies and even breaking the law.

These cases are not always a cut and dry situation.

State law requires that Arizona POST, which certifies police officers, be notified when an officer quits. And that officer can't get a another law enforcement job in-state - until the investigation is over. [Click here to read the Arizona POST report on all misconduct and criminal cases they've handled] 

Criminal cases have more clear-cut rules.

"We have pursued charges against an officer even after they quit," Louis said. "We've had goodness - we've had officers for bank robbery, for theft, for drugs, for stealing property - and they quit. And we still went after them criminally."

In the last decade, more than 1,700 police officers were investigated on criminal charges of: assault, drug use, sexual misconduct and the list goes on and on. Of those 1,700 officers, 617 lost their certification and will never be able to work as cops again in this state.

Even Chief Daniel Garcia said those criminal prosecutions are not good enough.

"We want to be able to hold our officers accountable from an administrative standpoint and criminal," Garcia said.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cold Case Posse violated MCSO Code of Conduct

Cold Case Posse lead investigator Mike Zullo admits he received checks totaling roughly $1,400 for the sale of the e-book version of his investigation into President Barack Obama's birth certificate. But a review of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office official Code of Conduct shows it is an abuse of power for employees or volunteers to use their official position for personal or financial gain.

CBS 5 Investigates obtained a copy of the Code of Conduct after receiving an anonymous tip that Zullo may have violated MCSO policy in selling his book.

MCSO spokeswoman Lisa Allen responded to a request for comment with the following statement:
"As Mr. Zullo publicly stated before you and other reporters, he has received approximately $1,400 in royalties. He kept none of that money as a personal financial gain, choosing instead to donate all of it."

CBS 5 Investigates reached out to other Valley law enforcement agencies, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler and the Department of Public Safety. All reported that it would be against department policy for an employee or volunteer to sell police information.

"If employees are allowed to just generate their own interest, write their own books, sell their own products, it just destroys the public trust," said William de la Torre, a retired Phoenix police sergeant with 24 years on the force.

Active and retired police officers have written books about cases, but those cases are generally closed or cold, unlike the sheriff's investigation into the president's birth certificate, which the sheriff said is ongoing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sheriff Arpaio offering $5K reward for damaged campaign signs

I think more than a few grifters ears poked up when they heard this news, a $700 fine for destroying the signs, but $5000 for reporting it to Sheriff Joe. That's $4300 profit if one doesn't mind some possible jail time or probation.

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is opening up his wallet to anyone who can help him find the people responsible for ruining his campaign signs.

Sheriff Arpaio has announced that he’s offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction for damaging his signs.

“My signs are being destroyed by these criminals causing us to lose a lot of hard earned money. Damaging political signs is a crime and I want these perpetrators prosecuted,” said Arpaio.

Chad Willems, who is managing Arpaio’s reelection campaign, said signs have been stolen, cut up, painted over with profanities, and burned beyond recognition. More than 200 signs have already been replaced at a cost of approximately $3,500.

“The campaign office gets calls every day reporting the damage done to the Sheriff’s signs throughout the county,” Willems stated.

Anyone with any information is being asked to first call local law enforcement and then the Arpaio campaign headquarters at 602-235-9320.

Defacing a political sign is a class two misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to four months in jail, a $700 fine, and two years probation.