By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
Asked about the letter by a senator, Halliday said his friendship with Fitzsimmons was no big deal and that there was nothing untoward about the trucking industry's lobbying for his appointment.
Halliday's a gruff Vietnam veteran who has held a wide variety of positions during his 35 years with the DPS. As New Times' 2010 article described, he was investigated — though never charged — in 2000 for an incident on a Payson golf course in which he shoved a homeowner who had cussed him.
Hegarty, according to a bio that's still published on the DPS website, is a former naval officer and University of Arizona graduate who has been with the state police agency for 18 years. Besides working in patrol, SWAT, administrative support, training, and commercial-vehicle enforcement, he also completed a fellowship in the nation's capital at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
Knowledgeable about a range of subjects related to his job, he has written articles for various cop publications. In 2007, as a lieutenant, he wrote a lengthy piece on whether a highly debated freeway speed-camera system run by the state had reduced crashes on the Scottsdale portion of Loop 101. "It seems very possible" that crashes went down 14 percent because of the freeway cameras, Hegarty wrote, acknowledging that other factors could be responsible for the decrease.
An article he wrote for the Arizona Trucking Association's 2009-2010 Yearbook describes how the ATA and DPS partnered in an educational project intended to teach teens how to drive around big rigs. Contributions from the ATA helped fund the program, and it was one of many instances of a business relationship between the trucking group and the law enforcement agency.
And another reason, besides the overall enforcement of commercial vehicle laws, that DPS officials shouldn't have been sitting in box seats at a sporting event as guests of the ATA.
DPS policy prohibits employees from accepting "gifts, gratuities, or personal favors from vendors, contractors, or suppliers."
A law on the books in Arizona lists accepting a gift as one of the "prohibited acts" of state employees or officers — if the "valuable thing" or benefit presents "a substantial and improper influence" on the gift-taker's duties. The vagueness of the law (ARS 38-504(C)) is one reason Montgomery found it difficult to bring criminal cases against lawmakers in the Fiesta Bowl probe.
But, crime or not, such gift-taking raises questions about the ethics of public officials.
The DPS probe into the baseball tickets didn't go well for Hegarty. He sensed that would be the case during his October 3, 2011, interview with Deputy Director Dennis Young.
By then, the humorous picture of him and Mason sitting in the ATA seats at Chase Field had made the rounds at the DPS. Halliday had seen it, of course, and heard the rumors that the seats were provided by the trucking group. In mid-September, he asked Hegarty about the source of the tickets, and records show he was satisfied when Hegarty said he'd purchased them himself.
But on September 30, Major Jack Lane, who worked under Hegarty, fired off a heated memo to Halliday and Young accusing Hegarty, Hunter, and Mason of "potential criminal and/or ethical misconduct" based on their taking of gifts. Lane had spoken with another officer about the "rumor" that the DPS officials in the picture were sitting in ATA box seats, and the officer told him he'd talked to Jimmy Chavez, who had been invited to the game but didn't go. Lane said Chavez "confirmed" to the officer that the ATA paid for the tickets.
Lane then "understood the seriousness of these allegations," he wrote. "If the tickets were in fact 'gifted' to these employees then there are criminal violations. If they were paid for 'after the fact,' then there is less potential of criminal violations, [but] there are ethical and/or conflict of interest issues that need to be addressed."
Lane further noted that nearly everyone at the DPS seemed to know about Hegarty's apparent bad ethics, "adding to the already tense situation concerning leadership."
Failing to investigate and "properly" address the problem could damage the agency's reputation, he argued.
A few days later, Hegarty was called to Young's office and asked who paid for the September 8 tickets. Hegarty told him it was the ATA but that he "didn't see an issue" with taking them, Young's report states.
Seeing how things were going, Hegarty apparently decided to try to drag others down with him.
Director Halliday "has used tickets supplied by the ATA and has himself attended games," Young says Hegarty told him.
Hegarty said other DPS employees had accepted free ATA tickets. According to Young, Hegarty said the director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, former state lawmaker John Halikowski, took the freebies, too. Halikowski, through a spokesman, denied ever accepting tickets from the trucking industry or going to a baseball game with an industry representative.
Hegarty, in his interview with New Times, says he never alleged anything about Halikowski. He says Deputy Director Young's report is not accurate on the point, and that he's considering suing for defamation because of it.
"That just floors me, that he would attribute that to me," Hegarty says.