Conflict rises between sergeant and Farmington Police superiors

Feb 11, 2013 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Farmington Daily Times

A Farmington police detective was placed on administrative leave last month because the Chief of Police said he botched an embezzlement investigation.

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1 - 15 of 15 Comments Last updated Feb 21, 2013
twilight

Phoenix, AZ

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#1
Feb 11, 2013
 

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FPD--corrupt throughout?
Seriously

Farmington, NM

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#2
Feb 11, 2013
 

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Knowing all the key players from FPD Westall, McPheeters, Hardy, Perez...The only one out of that pile who has any credibility is Perez. The other three would stuff a five year old down a well to keep the kid from spilling all the lies they've told over the years to promote, stay out of trouble and get ahead. Perez is the only honest and decent one amoung them. And, the other three would stuff Perez down a well if they thought they could get away with it. Those three have gotten away with so many other things, now they believe nothing can touch them. How they ever made rank is such a joke!! Westall and McPheeters especially shouldn't have ever made it passed being a patrol officer because they both sucked at that! Can't believe none of the judges, lawyers ex police officers and present officers aren't coming forward with all the knowledge they have of Westall, McPheeters and Hardy's lies from the past.
Noon doggy

Los Lunas, NM

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#3
Feb 11, 2013
 

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Seriously, is this a joke? They are willing to throw one of the best officers under a bus, just to make themselves look good. Sgt. Perez is a great cop, he is honest, he cares about the community and he's a good friend. Westall, McPheeters, Mitchell, Caulkins and Hardy are there for themselves, could care less about their officers or the community. They are smug because they have been untouchable for years. But they forget, you can only push your troops around for so long, before someone springs a leak. Bring in the Feds!
Hall of Shame

Farmington, NM

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#4
Feb 11, 2013
 

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Westall
McPheeters
Mitchell
Caulkins
Hardy
Rat Squad

Goodyear, AZ

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#5
Feb 12, 2013
 
I have read with great interest the most recent articles besieging the City of Farmington, particularly the City Manager’s office, and the Farmington Police Department. In the most recent incident involving the lead detective being suspended after what appeared to be a painstakingly complex investigation it appears to be purely retaliatory in nature. Knowing someone with knowledge of the inner workings of the FPD the internal strife has been going on for years with alliances being formed early on.
It seems apparent the suspension evolves around the formal complaint filed by Perez and another detective against then Deputy Chief Westall and Captain McPheeters in what they perceived as the obstruction of the active investigation of a suspicious death in which the decedent had a participated in a “wet lab” in which the city had an active role in. A “wet lab” is an important training tool utilized by law enforcement to evaluate intoxication.
It is alleged Westall and McPheeters began a formal inquiry into assessing the Citys potential liability in regards to the decedents participation. It is alleged Westall and McPheeters interviewed and requested statements be written by personnel who were participants in the lab. When the detectives became aware of it they requested the information which was obtained and were met with hesitation and delay and ultimately received the information requested.
It is well known in law enforcement, administrative investigations are secondary to criminal investigations. In that particular instance the detectives perceived Westall and McPheeters hindered the criminal investion by the actions of questioning and obtaining statements from personnel involved. In a criminal investigation it is imperative that investigators begin to process evidence and question any potential involved parties as soon as possible. The purpose of this is twofold 1) physical evidence can degrade or be overlooked and 2) statements obtained in the early are more recollected and fresh in the mind.
When the detectives became aware of the actions of Westall and McPheeters they filed a formal complaint with former Chief of Police Runnels. Immediately they were met with hostility and their character questioned as was reported in your local media. Runnels called them disgruntled, questioned their abilities to effectively complete their job by saying they conducted “a piss poor investigation”, and threatened one of the complainants stating something to the effect of he “stirred up a hornet’s nest and was going to get stung”.
In most agencies a complaint filed against a Deputy Chief, Asst Chief, or Undersheriff is fielded by the Chief of Police or Sheriff or in the case of larger agencies with a solely separate Internal Affairs division it may be assigned to that division for investigation. In this case a complaint was lodged against then Deputy Chief Westall and should have been fielded by Runnels if FPD policy dictates as such. In any case the Chief of Police should be made aware.
Rat Squad

Goodyear, AZ

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#6
Feb 12, 2013
 

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Ultimately it was reported Westall and McPheeters were absolved of any wrong doing. Additionally, they were absolved of any wrong doing by your City Manager Rob Mayes, in a guest editorial that was published in your local paper. Mayes characterized the incident as a breakdown in communication and stated that McPheeters was acting in his scope of duties in assessing potential liability. In another article it was reported McPheeters stated he was in contact with former San Juan County Sheriff McCloskey who adamantly denied he was communicating with McPheeters in regards to the incident. In Monday’s article it was reported the Westall and McPheeters denied they were conducting an investigation in the matter. Something seems amiss and questions the integrity of both of them when Mayes himself reported McPheeters was acting within his scope of employment in assessing potential city liability. In my opinion as assessment is an investigation or in a less severe word let’s call it an inquiry.
These actions can be perceived that any misconduct or perceived misconduct of upper echelon personnel will be met with severe consequences and retribution. These are the types of incidents which seriously can cause a community to lose faith in their police department in the event they become the victim of a crime the investigators are inept or if it involves potential city liability their case will become secondary. Additionally, incidents like this can greatly diminish morale taking away the effectiveness how officers and detectives complete their assigned duties especially if it discovered a high ranking officer, official, or family member is involved.
In the most recent incident the perception of retaliation is evident due to his questioning the actions of City Manager Mayes. It was reported that Perez in a supplemental report written in Jan ’12 during a meeting with Mayes he requested the use of the Rocky Mountain Information Network, a consortium of law enforcement networks utilized by many law enforcement agencies in the western US, because of the possibility of free forensic accounting services. Mayes opted to utilize an outside private firm to conduct the audit.
In the article Mayes responded stating he hired Stolga and Jakino, at taxpayer expense, to complete an administrative investigation. Mayes was quoted as saying in a telephone interview “The police department was invited to piggyback on that investigation, because we wanted to be good stewards of the money, and the police department was excited about that benefit”. Mayes was further quoted as saying “The detective was never directed to not use the Rocky Mountain Informational Network”.
This again gives the perception that administrative investigations take precedent of active criminal investigations. Again it appears Mayes was directing the scope and direction of the investigation. Why would Mayes opt to use an outside entity, at taxpayer expense when the possibility of free services to obtain the same result could possibly be available, and invite the “police department to piggyback on that investigation”? It appears to be a denial as I interpret it.
Rat Squad

Goodyear, AZ

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Feb 12, 2013
 

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It was also reported Perez directed all media questions to the City Manager’s office after the suspects, Dusenbery, death was believed to have been announced by Mayes to the Freedom Days Committee. In a supplement written by Lt. Hardy he corrected Perez’s report stating that information was “shared” with Jeff Bowman privately. Bowman had recently retired from city service after approximately 30 years as was reported by your local paper. It was also reported in Hardy’s supplement that Perez failed to document information received from a, Karen McPheeters, who advised Captain McPheeters (related?) about troubling text messages she received from Dusenbery. Hardy was reported to have written Capt McPheeters made telephone calls to Hardy and Perez and were not documented in Perez’s report.
There are some issues that should be addressed. Why would Mayes disclose the death of the suspect to Bowman, who does not need to know, and it was disclosed to a committee thus stalling the investigation when possible suspects lawyered up? If information was related to Hardy and McPheeters by Karen McPheeters, why are they not held accountable by not accomplishing documentation they received as well. At a minimum Hardy, who appears to be directly involved in the case, should have documented his contact with McPheeters. Why weren’t the alleged discrepancies addressed at an earlier time? In a high profile case where was Perez’s supervision, one would think Hardy would be following the case closely and apprising the command staff and city managers office on the progression of the case? Why would Hardy document the inconsistencies a year after Perez’s first allegation of misconduct documented by Perez? It appears Hardy failed to accomplish his duty as a supervisor to review and clarify any possible discrepancies documented.
It also appears the suspension and Internal Affairs investigation directed by Chief Westall in retaliatory based on past history. Some questions need to be asked in regards to the directed investigation. Why would the investigative ability of Perez be called in to question when it was reported he received a letter of commendable action from a representative of your States Attorney Generals Office outlining the thoroughness and damage control to the CVB he accomplished during the investigation. That in itself lays credence to the ability of Perez. Why would Chief Westall direct Capt Mitchell to conduct the IA on Perez when the department has a Lt and Sgt assigned to Internal Affairs, personnel of greater or equal rank? Is it because Westall has no confidence in his IA Investigators? Is it because Mitchell was recently promoted to captain during a time your community was in a reported financial crisis and most hiring and pay issues were frozen? Is it because the administration is calling in a marker? A fair question I believe.
I’m told in well known among the ranks Westall and Mayes are extremely close both in a professional and personal relationship and Westall has made no qualms disclosing he is close personal friends of the Mayes’. Some allege Westall and Mayes also have attempted to use their positions to influence the controversy surrounding Mayes’, son John, who has been accused of a horrific crime involving a prominent local doctor in your community.
One must also question the relationship and motives of Westall, McPheeters, and Hardy, who themselves have reported credibility and ethical issues involving everything from untruthfulness, theft, fraud, workplace violence, all that have never been reportedly looked into.
Just some food for thought.
Seriously

Farmington, NM

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#8
Feb 12, 2013
 
Rat Squad is spot on with all of this. Karen McPheeters is Keith McPheeter's sister. Why would she be involved in any of the above actions going through her brother instead of reporting what she supposedly was hearing from the deceased? Why wouldn't she first call the investigating detectives, Perez and Bradford, to speak to them personally? She's been involved with law enforcement through her job with the city of Farmington and her brother, McPheeters, long enough to know how a suspicious death would be handled. Why, when Perez and Bradford, went to Lt. Steve Burch who was their supervisor in the detective division at the time, and told him Westall and McPheeters were hampering their investigation by conducting their own investigation, why didn't Burch do anything? Instead Burch gave them nothing, abandoning Perez and Bradford. Thus, forcing Perez and Bradford to be set adrift and left to go to higher ups with their complaints about Westall and McPheeters. Think back about how Runnells and Burch both retired very quickly after this whole ball of wax came to the attention of the public. Why?? Runnells still had time to go until retirement and Burch wasn't expected to retire for another year. We know for a fact the many, many instances of lies connected to Westall and McPheeters. Captain Mitchell himself once sued the Farmington Police Department. But now that it's too late no one will ever be able to find all the incedent reports, write ups, evaluations on Westall, McPheeters, Hardy, Mitchell, Burch, Runnells or any history on them on file. The first thing they did was go through all their personnel files when they were promoted and delete anything negative. The glaring lies about Perez are so obvious to anyone who's ever worked with him but yet Westall wants to fire him? Fire Westall, McPheeters, Hardy, Mitchell, Caulkins. Better yet, fire anyone with rank including Mayes and start the hell over. That's the only way the police dept. will ever be rid of this nest of snakes. Perez is the only one telling the truth but yet they're trying to burn him. If that's allowed to happen it will be clear...everyone involved in this are criminals.
Thank you

Farmington, NM

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#9
Feb 12, 2013
 

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to you both, Rat Squad and Seriously. You have clearly stated facts as many of us know them. As Seriously said: Perez is the only one telling the truth but yet they're trying to burn him. If that's allowed to happen it will be clear...everyone involved in this are criminals.

When will this end? Where are you, who ever you might be, you who should be launching an investigation into this mess with the hoped for result of cleaning up and throwing out the trash?

These officers tarnish the work and the reputations of some of the FPD's very fine officers and detectives, to say nothing of undermining our community's confidence in law enforcement.

Will you, will we the citizens, continue to allow the good guys to always finish last here? Will you, will we, allow the bad guys to continue call the shots, crooked and corrupt as they are?
Everyone is Afraid

Chandler, AZ

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#10
Feb 13, 2013
 

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Until you all confort this behavior it will continue. I've never met so many unqualified people holding so many positions of authority and continualy stick it to you all. Go ask or see how the people of Bell, California took care of their corrupt system. See: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/bell/
Flanders

United States

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#11
Feb 14, 2013
 
Rat Squad has brought to light a pattern of conduct by Rob Mayes. I recall a newspaper article as well where DA Tedrow stated Mayes contacting him about the homicide case involving his son. Tedrow said Myes began to question him while he was at city hall and Tedrow said he changed the topic of converstion. Another Rob Mayes internal investigation also comes to mind is the FFD scandal involving Chief Martin where questionable actions of newly appointed Chief Brown also surfaced.
Flanders

United States

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#12
Feb 15, 2013
 

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I guess Westall showed his true colors. He terminated one of the best officers,most experienced, and qualified detectives at the FPD.
While he keeps ODonnell on the payroll, who hasnt been completely cleared of sexual assault, had an inappropriate relationship with a female city employee and got worked over by the husband at Brookside Park, a sexual harassment complaint filed against him by a Native American female officer, and who can forget infamous female tenant in one of his rentals a few years ago who gets out of the shower and finds ODonnell sitting on her bed. What a landlord. Instead of a Sgt there Chief what you have is a sexual deviant. But then again he emulates you. Remember when the misses trashed your ride at the female Lts house.
Oh and who can forget Manning, who you also have on the payroll. You know him multiple absenses from work due to being hungover, showed up for work drunk as a skunk during his traffic tenure and given a ride home, Cordell responding to his house after suicidal messages and looped out of his gord on meds, and most recently when you put him on admin leave, again drunk as a skunk.
Its gonna be nice to see what comes out in Sept in front of a judge and jury oh and the media. All the skeletons be falling out of the closet. Be nice to see a nice judgement and if the townfolk are lucky indictments.
The Searcher

Cedar Crest, NM

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#13
Feb 17, 2013
 
"Rat Squad", Please contact me....I am relative of the victim of the "Wet drinking lab" I need you help!!!!! Please!!! Contact me at wabwilkins@yahoo.com ASAP!!!!!!!!!!
Voice of Reason

Denver, CO

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#14
Feb 18, 2013
 
Oh what a tangled web Mayes weaves, when first he practices to deceive.
been there

Tularosa, NM

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#15
Feb 21, 2013
 
Hall of Shame wrote:
Westall
McPheeters
Mitchell
Caulkins
Hardy
You forgot ODonnell and manning....

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