Two months after top leaders at the Goodyear Police Department were placed under scrutiny, administrative leaves continue for the city’s police chief, deputy police chief, an officer and another employee.
Intense secrecy also continues.
Other than an Oct. 7 statement “Chief Jerry Geier and Deputy Chief Justin Hughes were placed on paid administrative leave due to recent allegations of impropriety,” the city refuses to provide details on the actions.
The West Valley View submitted a public records request on Oct. 24, asking for copies of all complaints the city received against Geier and/or Hughes.
The city responded on Nov. 27. The only complaints attached to the email were filed by Jose Roman against Geier and Hughes.
Roman resigned from the Goodyear Police Department in 2013. In 2015, Roman was convicted of molestation and received an 18-year sentence. From prison, Roman filed charges alleging Geier and Hughes improperly handled his case.
In 2018, then-Deputy Chief Santiago Rodriguez sent Roman a letter, stating his complaints were reviewed. “As a result of the inquiry, we have determined Chief of Police Jerry Geier and (then-Sgt.) Justin Hughes performed their duties in a manner which was both lawful and consistent with department policies and procedures,” Rodriguez wrote.
Tammy Vo, a Goodyear spokeswoman, said the Roman complaint is not related to the suspension from duty of Geier and Hughes.
“Other than a complaint filed against Chief Geier - currently under investigation and a complaint against Deputy Chief Hughes - also currently under investigation, there have been no other complaints filed against either,” Vo said.
The West Valley View again asked for details of the complaint which ignited the current investigation. Speaking for the city, Vo again declined.
“We will not be producing any documents in response to your request at this time because the Peace Officers Bill of Rights, which was adopted by the state legislature, protects information about disciplinary investigations of police officers from being disclosed until the investigation has been completed or the employer has discontinued the investigation,” Vo stated in an email.
Asked how long she expected the investigation to last, Vo responded, “I don’t know.
“The city’s intent from the start has been to give the investigators as much time as they need to conduct a thorough investigation,” Vo said.
“We did not put a time limit on it.”
Vo again declined to name the agency investigating Geier and Hughes.
Geier, hired as chief in early 2012, continues to receive his weekly pay of around $3,600 (his annual salary is $187,735).
Rodriguez has been acting chief since Oct. 7.
“As the acting chief, he is fulfilling the chief’s role which includes things like presenting to city council when needed,” Vo said.
She was asked how the department is doing under the watch of Rodriguez.
“Things are going great,” Vo said. “It’s business as usual.”
The West Valley View requested an interview with Rodriguez (who also goes by the nickname “Jimmy”). As of Monday afternoon, Rodriguez had not responded.
Rodriguez has been with the Goodyear Police Department for more than two decades.
“I began my career as a sworn law enforcement officer at the Goodyear Police Department in 1998 after graduating from the Glendale Community College Law Enforcement Police Academy,” he wrote, in a LinkedIn.com profile.
“During my career, I have served in numerous assignments as a patrol officer, Special Assignments Unit crisis negotiator, traffic motor officer and member of the Vehicular Crimes Unit as a crash reconstruction investigator.”
The other two suspended with pay include Officer Kyle Cluff, hired five years ago, and Susan Petty, listed by the city as the administrative service manager for the Police Department. The two also were placed on administrative leave “due to additional allegations of wrongdoing,” Vo said, in an October email
“Placing these employees on leave is important in order to provide a neutral environment and support needed while outside counsel reviews the situation. The city of Goodyear values the public’s trust and takes these types of accusations seriously, and is committed to conducting a thorough review.”