Goodyear Police Chief Jerry Geier and Deputy Chief Justin Hughes were placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 7 “due to recent allegations of impropriety,” according to Tammy Vo, spokeswoman for the city.
Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said she is “staying out of” the investigation, which is being handled by an outside agency (the city has declined several requests to provide details, including the name of the agency).
“I think it’s very respectful to be taking an investigation that might be complicated out of the city,” Lord said. “When something like this is handled in house by a police department, people can say, ‘They can do what they want.’ I think this is respectful.”.
Though she noted, “I have no idea how this is going to come out,” Lord said Geier is “a good guy. As the chief, I respected him, he’s a great guy.”
Lord had similar praise for Santiago Rodriguez, who has been the acting chief since the city placed Geier on administrative leave. Rodriguez previously was the city’s other deputy chief.
The West Valley View recently asked Rodriguez about the state of the police department, in light of the turmoil.
“The morale of the police department has been exceptional,” Rodriguez said. “The men and women of the Goodyear Police Department are resilient professionals who come to work every day ready to serve the community.
“The members of the Goodyear Police Department are loyal to the citizens of Goodyear and are prepared to assist our citizens and visitors.”
Rodriguez is a two-decade veteran of the Goodyear Police Department. He was hired as a reserve officer in 1998 and became a full-time paid officer in 2000. Since then, he has been a patrol officer, investigator and supervisor.
He explained some of the duties he has taken on in his new position.
“As acting police chief, I am the leader of the police department and responsible for police department operations,” Rodriguez said. “I ensure the implementation of goals, objectives, policies and procedures; and maintain the standards for the department. I am responsible for strategic planning, which covers the use of resources and the coordination of activities; and ensures the delivery of high-quality service.”
In addition to supervising staff, he meets with city administrative staff and can be called upon to make city council presentations.
“I contribute to the development and implementation of projects and programs in order to maximize police services,” Rodriguez said. “In addition, I work in partnership with the Fire Department to provide best practices involving safety and quality of life for our employees and the citizens we serve.”