DesertExile: Glendale (AZ) officer fired over paperwork problems

26 July 2006

Glendale (AZ) officer fired over paperwork problems

Brent Whiting
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 26, 2006 12:00 AM

A Glendale police officer with a history of disciplinary and paperwork problems dating back to 1995 has been fired by Steve Conrad, the city's police chief.

It's the latest action in a string of paperwork scandals that have rocked the Glendale Police Department since last year.

Officer John Contreras, a 12½-year member of the Glendale force, received a written notice of termination from Conrad, who said Contreras has a long history of failing to complete investigation reports.

Included are 60 fraudulent reports that falsely claimed investigations had been completed, Conrad said.

"Your conduct is unbecoming of a City of Glendale employee and a violation of the public trust placed in you," Conrad wrote.

Contreras has appealed the dismissal, setting the stage for an Aug. 16 hearing before the city's personnel board in which he will attempt to win back his job.

Contreras could not be reached for comment on the dismissal, issued June 8. City records show that on eight previous occasions since 1995, he had been written up or reprimanded for job deficiencies, including paperwork issues.

Conrad said that in some of the cases, there was "re-victimization" of crime victims whose cases were never heard because of inaction by Contreras.

In at least 10 cases, there were "further altercations" between the listed crime victim and the suspect, Conrad said.

"Two of these reports were felony aggravated assaults and one of these reports involved a 5-year-old victim of child abuse," Conrad said.

Investigators were able to complete the work in some of the neglected cases, but in others no further action was possible because the statute of limitations had expired, he said.

There have been four other reported incidents of paperwork problems involving Glendale police since 2005.

On April 11, 2005, Brad Moore, a Glendale detective, was fired for work involving 242 domestic-violence cases.

Officials said Moore filed reports falsely claiming work had been done, but 158 cases had to be scrapped because the one-year statute of limitations had expired.

After the Moore scandal, problems surfaced involving two other Glendale detectives who kept their jobs.

One of them, Jeff Horsley, was accused of failing to do a proper investigation in 59 sexual-assault cases and destroying 30 videotapes in some of the cases. The other, Kristian Grube, was accused of failing to do work on at least 174 domestic-violence cases.

The most recent incident came earlier this year. On April 19, Officer Scott Blake, a 10-year veteran, was slapped with an 80-hour suspension without pay for ignoring deadlines to complete daily crime reports.

Conrad went to work on the paperwork problem after taking command Dec. 28, replacing Andrew Kirkland, who had resigned amid allegations of impropriety.

Conrad has since issued orders imposing new policies on the filing of reports.

Now, officers must complete all reports upon the completion of a shift and before going home, Conrad said.

Previously, Glendale officers were required to file reports for "critical" cases, such as felony arrests, domestic violence and stolen vehicles, by the end of a shift.

Wonder why he was there this long? Could it be Affirmative Action?

My guess is that this man's inaction stood to cost the Police Department more from citizen lawsuits than his lawsuit for being terminated for Prejudice or discrimination


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