The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST) board voted Dec. 18 to take no action against Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall and Lt. Charles Arlak.
With the power to suspend and remove peace officer certification - essential for duty - AZPOST is a board policing the police.
The AZPOST board, which includes police chiefs and high-ranking officers from around the state, unanimously voted not to discipline Hall and Arlak. Both were disciplined in 2018 by the city of Buckeye for improperly reporting crime statistics. Hall was suspended for 40 hours.
Billy Caldwell, AZPOST compliance specialist, noted an independent investigation “specifically said there was no malice involved” in the inaccurate reporting. “The word used was incompetence,” Caldwell said.
The investigation found Hall failed to provide adequate supervision. Hall was suspended for 40 hours in 2018, a year after an anonymous letter was sent to the city of Buckeye (and the West Valley View). The letter accused Hall of improperly operating a security company and unprofessionally sharing an accident-scene photo.
According to the independent investigation, Hall violated policy when he took at least one accident-scene photo of a nude male driver who was wearing women’s shoes.
“The picture was not taken for a legitimate law enforcement purpose and was shared with at least one individual outside of the police department,” the report said.
The report also concluded Hall used official department email and city time to conduct his security firm’s work. According to the report, Hall ignored complaints and warning signs and through his neglect allowed crime statistics to be inaccurately reported.
Arlak was disciplined for his role “as the records administrator responsible for crime classification,” Caldwell said.
Arlak exhibited “gross incompetence” and failed to provide proper oversight resulting in inadequately reporting criminal activity in Buckeye and artificially lowering crime rates, an independent report released in June stated.
“The investigation showed a lack of training … was directly related to under-reporting of crimes,” Caldwell said. For example, he said, 34 cases of simple assaults should have been classified as aggravated assaults.
Caldwell noted Buckeye suspended Arlak for 20 hours in 2018.