APS speaks out after slew of trespassing calls at generating station

Posted at 7:26 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 22:26:38-04

After several recent arrests at the Palo Verde Generating Station, APS is opening up about its security force.

Palo Verde in Tonopah is the nation's largest nuclear plant, serving four million people in the southwest.

ABC15 broke the story in June of 33-year-old Alexander Chavez who was arrested in a bizarre case of trespassing in the parking lot. Police reports said he had followed an employee to work and was making gun gestures. Chavez's arrest was one of three high profile cases in a year.

ABC15 dug deeper, obtaining calls for service records from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputies received 76 calls from the plant between January 2014 and June 2017. The reported crimes included a  bomb threat, suspicious people, an assault, and criminal damage.

APS emailed ABC15 to say none of the incidents jeopardized plant operations or safety.

"Palo Verde Generating Station has many of layers of security, including a large, highly trained, highly capable security force," APS spokeswoman Jill Hanks wrote."This elite force is trained to protect the plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."

APS also said the plant employees are regularly trained in safety and situational awareness, including what to look for regarding potential threats.