From August of 2009 to July of 2013, The City and the Police Department retaliated against Phoenix Police Sgt. Phil Roberts on a grand scale when he reported misconduct involving falsified kidnapping data that was used to obtain approximately $1.7M in federal grant money. Sgt. Roberts authored several memos detailing misconduct that were not only sent through his chain of command but also to City leaders.
The allegations were serious enough to warrant a federal audit and allegations of misconduct went to the very top of the Police Department and City government. Some of the allegations were that then Police Chief Jack Harris and then Mayor Phil Gordon gave false testimony with regard to the number of kidnappings/home invasions Phoenix was experiencing when testifying before a congressional committee.
The Police Department, true to form, did what it does best and adopted the policy that the best defense is a good offense. Sgt. Roberts was targeted and ultimately found himself on the receiving end of no less than five PSB investigations all of which were frivoulous in nature. These investigations were left open for the better part of two years. Federal authorities ultimately agreed that the city was retaliating against Sgt. Roberts. A PSB Lieutenant who investigated Sgt. Roberts lied when she told federal investigators that the descision to investigate him was hers and hers alone. It was later determined through sworn depositons that there had been a high level meeting beteween City and Police Department officials where the determination had been made to go after Sgt. Roberts weeks before he was investigated. Within only a few weeks after entering DROP, this same PSB Lieutenant retired abruptly and moved out of state when the walls began closing in.
The Police Department has a policy that requires employees to report misconduct if they become aware of it. What this same policy fails to explain is that there can be dire consequences for those who report the wrong kind of misconduct or report misconduct that involves people above a certain rank. For those who choose to ignore this unwritten rule the consequences can be severe and devastating.
The department will go after employees who are deceptive or make untruthful statements but apparently PIO’s and Commanders can make false or untruthful statements in the course of videotaped interviews and that’s perfectly ok.
PLEA has supported Sgt. Roberts in his endeavor to prevail against this corruption since the beginning. To Sgt. Roberts we offer our heartfelt congratulations for staying the course, keeping the faith when times were bleak and prevailing till the end. The City was wrong and they know they were wrong which is exactly why Sgt. Roberts got his job back.
Sir Edmund Burke said it best with his famous quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
CLICK HERE to read the related article produced by ABC 15’s investigative reporter Dave Biscobing regarding this case.