By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
As it turns out, Phil Roberts made his allegations about corrupt police officials and inflated statistics after he was passed over for a job to head a team of investigators chasing those kidnappers. A job he really wanted.
He understood that statistics generated by kidnapping cases could be misleading, because their accuracy hinges on detectives properly labeling police reports or investigations. He knew that his own unit wasn't living up to that responsibility, but that did not stop him from accusing Phoenix officials of intentionally blowing the kidnapping crisis out of proportion — even though that wasn't the case.
Roberts' claims that top Phoenix police officials exaggerated kidnapping statistics to defraud the feds out of grant money were debunked by a panel of experts who conducted an in-depth review of the statistics at the behest of the Phoenix city manager. The panel found that the statistics Phoenix released in 2008 were, indeed, flawed — but they were severely under-reported, not inflated.
And this was not due to corruption. Instead — the best anyone could tell — it was lousy recordkeeping.
There are several reasons why Roberts embarked on a campaign to "expose" the Phoenix Police Department.
He alluded to some in his writings, including the mounting stress of a crumbling professional and personal life that was taking its toll on him. Before Roberts fired off a series of very public allegations against top Phoenix police officials, he was a dedicated investigator with an impressive track record in law enforcement. After, he seemed more like a disgruntled employee dealing with the end of a 22-year marriage and the downward spiral of a career that also spanned more than two decades.
When his allegations didn't go anywhere, he concluded that those at the highest levels of the police department were part of the conspiracy against him.
Roberts told New Times that he can't talk about his case because he is currently under investigation by the Phoenix Police Department. Phoenix police officials declined requests for interviews.
But police internal investigative reports, court documents, and Roberts' own memos, e-mails, and personnel files — all acquired through public information requests — as well as background interviews, tell the story.
"There's the black and white written word you can look at weeks, months, years later, but what you don't get is what is happening behind the scenes and the face-to-face conversations," said Dave Kothe, vice president of the Phoenix police officers' union.
When he joined the Phoenix Police Department more than 25 years ago, Phil Roberts was eager to please. Like any rookie cop, he had some polishing to do when it came to writing reports and keeping vigilant on the job. His superiors thought Roberts had potential. Notes in his personnel file indicate he exceeded expectations when it came to his attitude, investigative techniques, and handling stress on the job — skills he perhaps had picked up during his military service.
Born in 1962, Roberts grew up in Phoenix and graduated from Cortez High School on the west side of town. He took a few community college courses, served four years in the U.S. Navy, and then joined the Phoenix Police Department in 1985. He married the following year, according to his divorce file in Maricopa County Superior Court, and fathered three children.
Roberts was dedicated to the job, an ardent over-achiever. He indicated on his city employment records that he dabbled in mountain climbing, scuba diving, and photography.
As he moved up the ranks, it seems he thought some of his colleagues were envious of his promotion to sergeant.
"At times, individuals . . . I have worked with or around mistake my enthusiasm or energy for this job as tension," he wrote in a note to his supervisor in 2007. "In reality, I look upon it as a . . . stinging of one's ego, brought upon my rank of sergeant, making command decisions in the heat of battle."
When he arrived in the Robbery Unit in 2006, police officials had already established the connection between human and drug smuggling and the storm of kidnapping and home invasion cases assailing the city. But there wasn't a dedicated team of investigators handling those cases; instead, they were being juggled by detectives also dealing with general robbery crimes.
Phil Roberts ran the kidnapping and home invasion investigations with little interference from his supervisor. He relished the media attention and the hefty overtime pay associated with working complicated cases that involved trying to locate and rescue kidnapping victims from the hands of drug dealers and human smugglers.
Police officers who used to work with Roberts said he would brag about being the highest-paid sergeant in the Phoenix Police Department. City records show that Roberts pocketed more than $150,000 worth of overtime and on-call pay in the four years he worked on kidnap and extortion cases.
In 2008, Phoenix Police Lieutenant Laurel Burgett was assigned to the Violent Crimes Bureau, which was home to Roberts' Robbery Unit. She created the Home Invasion and Kidnapping Enforcement (HIKE) unit, a special task force that would exclusively take over those cases from the Robbery Unit. She assigned another sergeant to lead that team, passing over Roberts, who she noted in performance reviews did not effectively manage the detectives assigned to him or complete administrative duties.
Phil Roberts is one of many PPD employees who abuse the overtime and standby systems to enrich themselves at the taxpayers expense. Someone in the corrupt city managers office needs to reign in all of those phony overtime and 24/7 standby details.
I dunno. Has anybody considered the possibility that the drug cartels who regularly murder Mexican politicians and drug enforcement personnel may have threatened Phil Roberts because he brought national attention to their activities in Phoenix?
Get back on the meds, Reich. I assure you that I am no girl. If you say it again, I might sling you down by your ponytail.
Oh, just saw Three-Name Reich posting again here. It's all about his "art." Anybody with a website can look up IP addresses of those who post, you luddite.
Again, Phil.... We all know you are Bob and T.Durden and most all of the others here. Who else would care about your nutty ass? Stop trying to turn the tables and make it about New Times. You are a conniving fool. Face it.
This article is clearly biased and poorly written. What the hell does Roberts' physical appearance have to do with ANYTHING? . . . It's time the media stopped trying to spoon feed the public half-assed hit pieces and started reporting the entire story so the public can decide for themselves. "There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion." - Winston Churchill
Phil, stop writing under assumed names. New Times can check the IP addresses, you moron. Not even your momma believes you anymore.
Actually, Harris is a winner, for waiting until April to retire as Public Safety Manager, thus insuring a second city-paid retirement pension. Hey, maybe ol' Phil G. and his buddy Cavazos can dream up another job title for him to be rehired again, and do the same job he did as Chief! You know, just in case his feelings ar hurt. Just sayin'
If lying to police is a crime, why is not a crime for a pig like this to lie to the people he serves?
Is this paper a communist paper.......I never seen anything but left slanted news and a ton on freeing illegals to run muck on society. It's amazing how a commie paper like this exists in the country.......know who your getting your news from people, this paper is absurd.
It looks like they are doing plenty of drug deals at the NEW TIMES instead of looking for new news. How many weeks can you run the same headlines?
I haven't read this article, but I notice it's been on your page for what seems like weeks! You must really love it.
Would someone please explain to me how we will decrease unemployment by granting amnesty to 12,000,000 people who entered the United States by illegal means?
The biggest problems we have here are drop-houses, human smuggling, people dancin across the border at all hours of the night..drive-by's...yeah I guess you could say our neighbors to the south keep us up most of the night.....
I've always gotten the impression that the Phoenix PD is undermanned for a metro area this size and that was before the budget troubles everyone is having.
There's enough real crime here in Phoenix - it doesn't need to be trumped up or exaggerated. I've actually seen and heard people doing drug deals and prostitution hookups in broad daylight in a few places where I used to live here in town. They are continually discovering illegal "safe houses" and meth factories. The gangs rule the streets here but nobody wants to talk about it. I was out in West Phoenix (around Desert Sky Mall - near 79th Ave & Thomas - that area) and did not see ONE Phoenix PD squad car the whole time I was in that part of town. Leads me to believe that there are actually large swaths of city that the PPD just doesn't patrol and only goes there if someone is shot or killed. Maybe you guys could do an investigation on where the police actually patrol. You see cop cars in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley all the time but other areas they are nowhere to be seen
MONEY DROP PRODUCTIONS...How does a lieutenant believe she can form a video production company which uses her units work product for it's source material to not be a conflict of interest? Sounds a lot like insider trading, using information the general public does not readily have based upon your position and profiting from it. So of course she would not have a problem with the inflated numbers, they helped make a problem seem bigger, therefore generating more attention which she could profit from. When the scam went bad she closed shop and pointed at other people as the problem. All of this is documented on abc15 investigation into kidnappings. Monica don't you think a lieutenant in charge of the unit could have easily discovered what Roberts discovered? You can't have it both ways.
Well this is what you get when you go against management a story that attempts to destroy you and say you are the problem. The truth is in working with Phil over the past 20 years none of the other so called Lt's would never be allowed to even stand in his shadow. Phil's dedication and work he has done for our department should stand on it's own merit. This is a smear story bought and paid for by burgett and her followers and you should be embarressed to put your name to it.
Oh good lord.. New times. gets delivered by Arizona republic and that's who owns the new times!.. if your white you can't get a job there. if your illegal your in! My husband and a few other white guys worked there worked them out tell they had nothing but mexicans working there
Sgt. Phil Roberts is a corrupt police officer and needs to be stripped of his badge. Just like his hero the Flaccid Fool of MCSO.
He must have been at the "throw shit at the wall and see what sticks" seminar with Candy Andy Thomas and Senator Pearce when he wrote his delusional memos supposedly exposing Phoenix PD "corruption."
This fool ruined the lives of so many people, including his victims. I hope his ass gets sued in his personal capacity.
Why the fuck does this fool still have with the Phoenix PD? He needs to be fired!!
As the actual Victim with "Call me" written on my stomach, and the fleshy finger i am outraged!!!!! These are actual photos... my story was no less than horific! For them to print this in a news paper for every one can see is a fucking outrage!!!!!!
Perhaps if Phoenix New Times put as much effort into supporting our border protection policies as it does into debunking Mexican crime statistics in the US, we wouldn't have to worry about this in the first place.
Why does this media outlet have such a pro-Mexican stance? How about we look into where some of YOUR funding comes from.
I dunno man, sounds like a plan to me dude.www.total-privacy.ua.tc
Many of these cases started with kidnappings, drop houses and narcotic violence as a result of our proximity to the border and the association with drugs coming up from Mexico to be sold in US (you know, demand) The definition for border related is new and vague and an attempt to describe the issue. The incidents of violence is enough to make the issue real and the clear connection to drugs and smuggling makes what Roberts did very shameful. the result has clouded the reality of the valid cause for concern.
So of the estimates of the kidnapping and home invasion cases attributable to border issues, Roberts went from 100 percent to less than ten percent. It only takes one unrelated case to disprove that statistic, and it would be an easy matter to do so, just checking the stories in the New Times.
How many of these cases are attributable to border issues? The question begs to be answered, but the article does not appear to address the issue meaningfully.
Interesting article, though it doesn't appear to be fair and balanced reporting. According to other media sources, Lt. Burgett also made several thousands of dollars, started a production company to profit from the statistics personally and outside the department and has even traveled to foreign countries purporting to be the kidnapping expert. The only part of this article I would agree with is the fact that the department could have, and should have, handled the accusations differently at the onset.
Oh wow, OK man thats kinda crazy when you think about it. Wow.
Oh Teddy, you are so adorable when you get all puffed up.
And BTW, you look great in that dress- the color yellow really does suit you.
Tell you what, my anonymous Tom/Ted/Tomato, how about you actually DO something rather than hide in the Internet's closet bragging about what a sassy princess you are?
It would be a refreshing change for all of us, and I know I'd enjoy it.Heck, I could use a good laugh
Until you do, you're just pounding sand- and we all know it.
On a side note: what is your obsession with my ponytail? Did a hairstylist touch you as a child?
Because seriously, that would explain a lot.
respectfully,Wayne Michael Reichhttp://www.WayneMichaelReich.c...
Um, Ted?Sorry, Tom.Oops, my bad. I really meant Tomato.
Definition of Lud·dite (ldt)-----------------------------------------------
-1) Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment.
-2) One who opposes technical or technological change.
So, how does either of these apply to me, exactly?
I'm not from the UK, and I actually embrace change- in my case, I hope to see the Editorzilla of this paper go bye-bye.
Stick to using words you actually know the definition of like "moron", you well... moron.
What's next? Verses from the Bible, I can only assume?You just keep hoping the mud will stick, don't you?
With no due respect- when it comes to your aim, I'm a Teflon duck, and you're nothing more than a retarded version of Angry Birds to me.
So to once again answer your delusions: I, unlike you, [a petty cyber-bully/coward] post under my full name, using two e-mails:
As you said, it's easy to check, right?Think hard about that.
However, when it comes to you...
You post under a variety of names, in a pathetic attempt to cloud the issues and heap scorn. Anonymous screeching is hardly a threat on any level, and just like in the world of the Real- you don't matter one iota here, either.
So keep hissing at me from under your bed Princess- you are such a baaaad girl.Nothing is hotter than cowardice and hypocrisy in my opinion.
Just remember when you answer- to ignore all the actual points I've raised about your hypocrisy, cowardice, and IQ, and just start leveling the 3rd grader insults and baseless slander we have come to expect from you.
And could you make it quick, please? I have a ton of laundry to do.
respectfully,Wayne Michael Reichhttp://www.WayneMichaelReich.c...
He will if you will, "Ted"- or should I say "Tomato"?
BTW, how would you know what NT can or can't do, unless you work for NT?
And why would they be checking IP's anyway- is someone was getting ticked off at being constantly slapped into ketchup?
Hmmm... who could this possibly be?
(I'd LOVE to see what IP address comes up for you, sassy girl.)
PS: I HAVE MISSED YOU!!!!
respectfully,Wayne Michael Reichhttp://www.WayneMichaelReich.c...
Monica, I'm surprised you were able to type this article with Burgett sitting on your keyboard. My guess, DOJ knows everything going on (a lot more than Newtimes) and in the end, isn't that really all that matters. I wonder if MCSO has pink underwear for ladies?
Touche' and ditto...I worked with Phil for years and although he is scrambling now his evaluation of Burgett is spot on. She used to drive around in her undercover purple Camaro with her kids car seats in the back. She is a spoiled product of Andy Hill and Andy Anderson. She followed them around the PPD like a puppy dog until she imploded as a Lt. Ask the gun squad how they liked her when she arrived as a Sgt. This story is full of inaccuracies. The HIKE squad did not want to go to DEB they were forced until Burgett saw the writing on the wall to distance herself from robbery number fiasco..
I'd sue the fuck out of Phoenix if I were you. This must be an absolute nightmare for you. I am so sorry for what happened. You need and deserve justice.
One wonders why a person makes over 100 complaints and accusations that have been UNFOUNDED. One wonders why PLEA and others continue to bleed false stories to the media. and one wonders why people continue to believe the staged agenda. One story by Ch15 Biscobing as a news source is about as outrageous as making $66k in a year where he now question the number of incidents. Investigators and supervisors make overtime, but $150k in 3 yrs??? What numbers are you comparing? He was one of the top paid on PD and bragged about it to everyone. The kidnap panel and the PD have determined where the stats have gone awry and they dealt with the statistics department. Sounds a lot like sour grapes. oh, and how exactly does an LLC profit from stats? There are so many media stories out there it sounds like a soap opera regardless of the numbers. Thanks to PLEA and Phil.
Am buoyed by this sole, sane observation in the cacophony of propaganda-driven extremism favored by an uninformed/misinformed AZ electorate. It is so SAD a statement on human society to hear SO much vindictiveness in the public voices -- especially when most of the remarks are just plain cruel.
Also find it ironic and odd that AZ agencies with a firsthand view of the unfortunate output of Mexico's deep layers of corruption somehow can condone (or perhaps uttlerly lack self-awareness of) their own corrupt or unethical tactics. At this rate, the Dept. of Justice might as well open a permanent office in Phoenix. No matter which side one identifies with in this piece, all of the alleged players seem to demonstrate the many ways that "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Sorry...I just noticed my grammatical error.
However, in my defense- I was just so darn excited to read Tomato/Ted/Tom's elegant rebuttal.
The fact that Tomato consistently posts under three names might be considered hypocrisy by some, but not me. I think hiding anonymously under the Internet's bed while pretending to be a big girl is actually kind of sexy when you get right down to it.
So in reference to my mistake, it should have read:
" is someone getting ticked off at being constantly slapped into ketchup?"
My sincerest apologies.
respectfully,Wayne Michael Reichhttp://www.WayneMichaelReich.c...
Have any of you noticed that Tom, Ted and Tomato keep using the same turns of phrase?Interesting....
How is this related to the union? It appears an employee who had knowledge of the situation made a complaint which was validated by the New Times investigation. The Police management chose to ignore the problem instead of checking the validity of it. Subsequent news reports by ABC 15 and Baphoenixcops showed how Sgt. Roberts supervisor, Lt. L.Burgett, knew there was questions about the numbers but failed to act on the questions. Poor supervision? Or possibly with the formation of a company which films and sells the video of kidnappings she was looking to cash in on a problem. It would be harder to sell your video product if you don't have the public interest fueled by media reports of the enormity of the problem. Big conflict of interest running a unit whose public work ends up making you profit in the public sector. I think the worse part is the damage all of the exaggeration of the problem has hurt meaningful immigration reform.
So what your saying is you are misinformed. There was no company with video associated with the city that sold anything from the real video. What your saying is the numbers generated interest and not the reality of a US City dealing with kidnappings. Check out Discovery, ABC National News, Newsweek, National Geographic, local news clippings who rode with the Unit, the public domain is rife with these investigations. Do you know anything about Public records laws, these are all available. Free enterprise is for everyone. regardless of the lack of any substantial evidence of conflict, according to this article of Robert's own writings, he provided the information to these NATIONAL stories. try looking at PLEA's own website as they also touted and pushed the numbers to fuel anti-immigration laws and rhetoric. It seems to me this story is interesting due to the reality, not the numbers. Oh by the way, no one disputes the reality. PLEA is behind all the media push to attack management, Chief Harris and anyone around him. Hope you are not an investigator. Conflict of interest? First you would have to prove that is true, and it is not. I saw a contract signed by the chief for another company to make a show. where is that show and where is that profit. The chief signed an agreement with another company to do a story on the unit which has been done a dozen times. Also, I do not see where anyone failed to act on the question, I have heard the recorded conversation with Biscobing and he left many things out. People write books, discuss an issue and create their own niches all the time, the great thing about free enterprise(and a hundred best sellers of people's stories) the only way to make money is people have to be interested. Seems controversy would fuel that. Try not to let facts get in the way.. Badphoenixcops I-Team investigation,,great sources.