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Copeland Investigation Released

Post Date:06/05/2019 9:50 am

In Sept. of 2017, an anonymous letter was sent to the Buckeye City Manager and various members of the City Council.

Buckeye is committed to public integrity and accountability, and in Dec. 2017 retained an independent, outside investigator, Copeland Investigations, LLC. to examine and investigate the claims contained in the letter.

The investigation determined that many of the allegations contained in the letter:

  • Lacked specificity
  • Were not in violation of city policies, or
  • Provided no facts to support the allegation

Most of the other allegations from the report were not sustained. Allegations that were sustained include the improper recording of crime statistics. As a result, discipline was imposed as follows:

  • Sergeant James Virgadamo - sustained for violations of policy as it relates to the altering of crime statistics and harassment in the workplace. Virgadamo resigned in lieu of termination
  • Chief Larry Hall - accepted responsibility for deficiencies in oversight of the crime statistic reporting process, unbecoming conduct and allowing the appearance of a conflict of interest related to an off-duty security firm. Hall accepted a 40-hour suspension, which he served in November 2018.
  • Lieutenant Charles Arlak – sustained for violation of policy by misclassifying crime statistics, without malice, and failing to provide adequate supervision as it relates to crime statistic reporting. Arlak received and served a 20-hour suspension.
  • Lieutenant Gary McGeough - received a written reprimand for violating policy as it relates to obtaining secondary employment.

In response to the findings of the investigation, the Buckeye Police Department took immediate action to correct and improve the crime reporting procedures. The Buckeye Police Department has now corrected the UCR Part 1 stats for 2016 and 2017 that were originally reported to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. 

In addition, the Buckeye Police Department has also completed the following:

  • Reassigned personnel working on crime reporting
  • Improved the crime reporting processes
  • Increased training for classifying crimes
  • Initiated the transition to a new FBI reporting system
  • Successfully passed an independent audit by the Arizona Department of Public Safety for UCR records reporting

We are confident under the current leadership of Chief Hall, Buckeye will continue to maintain the highest professional standards and services to our residents. Corrections to the sustained allegations were made and the department is successfully moving forward.

Obtaining a copy of this report

The complete report is available by submitting a public records request from the City Clerk’s webpage - https://www.buckeyeaz.gov/public-records

Once a public records request is received, you will be contacted shortly with instructions on how download the document from the city’s ftp site.

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