PHOENIX - Some Phoenix city leaders are pressing to find out why a police officer who raised questions about faulty kidnapping statistics years ago wasn't provided "whistle-blower protection."
"Any outside person would obviously look at this and believe he was retaliated against," Councilman Sal Diciccio said.
Sgt. Phil Roberts wrote a memo to the City Manager's Office on August 2, 2009. In that letter, he said he believed there were problems with the city's kidnapping statistics and that they were "moved and shifted."
However, less then three weeks after sending the memo, Roberts was placed under internal investigation. That case was followed by four more internal investigations in the months after. So far, none of the internal investigations launched against Roberts have been sustained
He was also reassigned and now works a night jail detail in south Phoenix.
That's a stark difference from the rest of the officer's 25-year career.
"The minute he (sent the letter), he was completely mishandled," Diciccio said.
Diciccio has sent a letter to the City Manager’s Office, asking why Roberts wasn’t protected and listened to.
ABC15 obtained Roberts entire personnel file through a public records request. Before he voiced concerns over the statistics, his file is nearly flawless and without any discipline.
Last week, our investigation uncovered major problems with Phoenix's 2008 kidnapping statistics, which included at least 100 cases that legal experts said should not have been counted.
Those statistics were used to get millions in federal grants. And now, the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General is investigating.
During the past year and a half, Roberts has written several letters to police and city officials about the statistics and was denied "whistle-blower protection" multiple times by Assistant City Manager Ed Zuercher, according to records and e-mails obtained by ABC15.
Diciccio said that's what he finds most concerning.
"It leads a bad example," he said. "That the City of Phoenix is out there treating individuals like this who are just trying to do the right thing."
Roberts could not be reached. And his attorneys said they couldn't comment because of the ongoing case.
However, they are planning to file a claim against the Phoenix Police Department and City of Phoenix.
Phoenix police officials did not respond to our requests for comment.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Did You Hear?
As the holidays keep creeping forward and the temperatures drop, it's important to keep your loveable pets warm as well.
Sgt. Jason Cullum of the Evansville Police Department in Indiana was going about his day in his cruiser when he spied an object in the middle of the road.
Nelson Mandela said a lot of great things. But after his death, he's being widely credited on social media with a phrase he didn't utter.
More Central Phoenix News
Police said the suspect was shot when he threw a sharp weapon at officers.