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Gilbert officer charged with falsifying arrest report, court records show

Posted at 2:27 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-05 20:13:29-04

GILBERT, AZ — A Gilbert police officer is facing multiple criminal charges of making false statements and tampering with an arrest record, court records show.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Officer Steve Gilbert on July 23, 2020.

Gilbert, whose last name is the same as the suburban town where he works, is a K9 officer.

On May 8, the criminal complaint states he made a “false sworn statement” about the location of an arrest and also “knowingly, with the intent to defraud or deceive, did alter or make a false entry in a Form IV.”

A Form IV is a public record used to document the probable cause against a defendant in order to book them into jail.

Both of the charges are Class 6 felonies.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

However, prosecutors did confirm that Gilbert was added last month to the county’s “Brady” list, which tracks officers with past lies, crimes, and other integrity issues.

In 2017, Gilbert was recognized as one of the town’s employees of the year.

He’s been sued at least three times in use-of-force cases, federal court records show.

The Gilbert Police Department did not answer some of ABC15’s emailed questions about the criminal charges, including what information Gilbert is accused of falsifying and how the department discovered it.

Instead, a spokesperson sent the following statement.

“On May 29, 2020, Gilbert Police Department Professional Standards Section was notified of alleged misconduct by Officer Steve Gilbert. Upon review of these allegations a criminal investigation began and an internal administrative investigation was also initiated. The Gilbert Police Department requested the Tempe Police Department conduct the criminal investigation into these allegations. Tempe Police Department completed their investigation and submitted their case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Please refer to the Tempe Police Department criminal investigation for further information. Upon reviewing the criminal case, MCAO placed Officer Gilbert on the Rule 15.1 Disclosure List.

The Gilbert Police Department placed Officer Gilbert on administrative reassignment on June 2, 2020. An internal investigation was conducted and the investigation is currently being adjudicated. Once Officer Gilbert’s administrative due process has concluded, the internal investigation report will be available upon request. The Gilbert Police Department values the trust of the community and we thoroughly investigate all allegations of misconduct.”

ABC15 has again asked Gilbert Police to provide more information than they provided.

A spokesperson claimed the town is limited by “state statutes.”

Court motions filed by Gilbert's defense attorney allege that two other law enforcement officers who work in detention positions may also have "criminal exposure" in the case, but they have not been charged.

One of the officers is a City of Chandler detention employee, who city officials claim is being unfairly accused and actually reported the misconduct.

[Editor's note: A previous version of this report named the two additional officers.]

ABC15 has officially requested records from the Tempe and Gilbert Police Departments regarding the case.

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Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at Dave@ABC15.com.