An outside investigation into serious misconduct alleged inside the Buckeye Police Department is still ongoing more than a year after the allegations were raised, according to city officials.
Officials also would not provide an estimate for when the investigation would be completed.
Last September, police department insiders sent the city manager an anonymous letter that alleged widespread corruption and cover-ups, including the routine falsification of crime statistics.
The city ordered an outside investigation to be completed by Burley Copeland, an ex-state police commander who runs a private investigations company.
The anonymous letter was dated September 18, 2017, which is the same day that ABC15 broke a story about a controversial police incident involving a teen with autism.
Officer David Grossman mistook the 14-year-old boy, who was playing in a quiet neighborhood park, for a drug user.
Body camera footage of the incident has made international headlines.
Portions of the letter allege Grossman is a protected employee, whose actions and misconduct are routinely “minimized or covered up.”
Given the one-year anniversary of the letter, ABC15 asked for an update on the investigation.
Buckeye spokesperson Annie DeChance responded via email to say the investigation was still ongoing.
“We do not have an estimated time of completion at this time,” DeChance said.
But ABC15 heard from people inside the city who claimed the investigation was turned in months ago. So, a reporter sent a follow-up email asking if that was true.
DeChance emailed, “At this time, the investigation is not complete. The city is reviewing a draft report and determining what, if any, additional investigation may be required.”
At a minimum, a draft report means the investigator has supplied at least a basic set of findings.
According to the city, Copeland Investigations has been paid $45,000 for exactly 600 hours of work.
ABC15 has confirmed some of the allegations inside the letter appear to check out. Specifically, the falsification of crime statistics.
For the past couple of years, Buckeye used it’s statistics to tout itself as the safest city in the Valley.
But in May, an ABC15 investigation discovered the city’s rock-bottom violent crime rate was based on dubious exemptions and by under-classifying crimes that experts said should be counted.
The station also found there have been dozens of people arrested and charged with violent crimes in Buckeye that were not included in the city’s statistics.
At some point recently, Buckeye Police scrubbed its crime statistics from the city’s website.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org.