Responding to a West Valley View question, on Friday the city clarified the types of leave impacting the Goodyear’s police chief, deputy police chief, an officer and an administrative worker.
“It is an external third party administrative investigation,” said Tammy Vo, a city spokeswoman.
On Oct. 7, Vo emailed the West Valley View, stating, “Chief Jerry Geier and Deputy Chief Justin Hughes were placed on paid administrative leave due to recent allegations of impropriety,” and “two other department employees were also recently placed on leave due to additional allegations of wrongdoing.”
As of Monday afternoon, Geier, Hughes, Officer Kyle Cluff and Susan Petty remained on paid leave. Goodyear hired Cluff in 2014 and Petty in 1997.
Vo later stated an outside agency is doing the investigation but would not provide the name of the agency. However, in 2018, the Surprise Police Department completed an investigation of a Goodyear officer who punched a woman during a traffic stop; the officer was found to have acted appropriately.
In response to a public records request regarding Goodyear’s guidelines for handling internal and outside/referral investigations of police department employees, the city provided the “Goodyear Police Department Policy,” dated Aug. 12, 2014.
Pages 4 and 5 explain policies on three types of investigations: criminal investigations, administrative investigations and external, third-party administrative investigations.
Administrative investigations are handled by the department’s Professional Standards Unit (PSU).
While criminal investigations may be initiated by the PSU or chief, per the policy, these would then be referred to an outside agency. “Criminal investigations shall not be conducted by the PSU.”
Under the external, third-party administrative investigations, the policy lists the following:
“The chief or city manager may at any time direct that an administrative investigation be conducted by a third-party agency, entity or individual.
“1. External third-party agencies, entities or individuals tasked with handling an administrative investigation shall conduct themselves according to and in compliance with department and city policies and guidelines.
“2. Employees shall treat requests from external Investigators, handling administrative investigations on behalf of the city, as requests from the chief and the employee shall give their full and complete cooperation and compliance.
“3. Administrative investigations which may involve allegations of misconduct or operational actions by the chief shall be referred to the city manager and investigated by an outside agency, entity or individual.
“4. The chief shall consider the following factors in considering the possibility of having a third party conduct an internal affairs investigation:
“When the integrity or perceived integrity of the department would come into question if the investigation were handled internally.
“If the department lacks a specific area of expertise necessary to conduct the investigation.
“If the backlog of pending internal affairs investigations is so large as to make it impossible to promptly conduct an investigation without compromising the integrity of the investigation.
“If, in the judgment of the chief, the interests of fairness are best served by an outside investigation.
“Any other factor determined to be relevant by the chief.”