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Local Arizona Police Officers Discredited

Posted by: Phoenix Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer Nick Alcock

Officer Doug Lynch in September 2008 reported a vehicle accident from his cellphone as he was driving to work but didn’t render aid, believing it was not serious. The driver later died. Officials say Lynch feared reprimand and deleted notes from the dispatch center’s computers linking him to the accident.

Records also show that officials in 2009 investigated Danielle Teran, a crime-scene specialist, because they believed she lied on her time cards.

Original article source: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/08/08/20110808surprise-police-employees-list-discredited-workers.html

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office added two Surprise police employees to its file of workers whose integrity has been questioned.

The additions came after the the Surprise Police Department reviewed its old internal investigations.

The review, ordered by Chief Mike Frazier after he took over the department in February, examined five cases for possible officer malfeasance, something police are required to do by federal law.

Police then submit those cases to the county attorney to include in a file called the “Officer Integrity List.”The list contains names of hundreds of officers for alleged acts ranging from lying in police reports to using excessive force. If those officers or police employees are ever called to testify in a criminal trial, defendants can argue their testimony is not credible. The information can also be used by future employers when assessing qualifications of job candidates.

Frazier said the audit was one of his first directives shortly after taking over, saying he wanted to ensure the department was in compliance.

“These are cases that … in our opinion should have been reviewed and they had not been,” he said.

Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the county attorney, said the law doesn’t specify a time frame in which cases should be sent for inclusion on the list. The decision is largely left to individual departments.

Police documents, which The Republic obtained after filing two public-records requests, said Officer Doug Lynch in September 2008 reported a vehicle accident from his cellphone as he was driving to work but didn’t render aid, believing it was not serious. The driver later died. Officials say Lynch feared reprimand and deleted notes from the dispatch center’s computers linking him to the accident. “It’s essentially altering a public record,” said Cmdr. Terry Young, who oversees internal affairs.

Records also show that officials in 2009 investigated Danielle Teran, a crime-scene specialist, because they believed she lied on her time cards.

Officials said Teran charged the department for 19 hours that she did not work. Young said investigators examined time cards from March through June 2009.

Neither Lynch nor Terran could be reached for comment. The Republic placed requests for comment through police administrators and the police employees union.

Lynch and Teran were both suspended without pay after the investigations. They were not fired although one of Teran’s superiors recommended termination to the Discipline Advisory Board.

“The board felt that although there is the assumption and speculation of the employee being deceptive, the information obtained during the investigation fell short of being conclusive,” said a June 2009 memo to one of the city’s assistant chiefs.

Frazier said he didn’t know when his predecessors last ordered an audit to assess which cases should be referred for including on the integrity list.

“When I arrived here, I heard little bits and pieces about a couple cases and then it made me think, ‘I wonder if they . . . sent these cases down for review.’ (But) they had not,” he said.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/08/08/20110808surprise-police-employees-list-discredited-workers.html#ixzz1UlQYf43B

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Alcock & Associates P.C.
2 North Central Avenue, 26th Floor
Phoenix AZ 85004