10 Worst Cops in (Recent) Arizona History

Ex-Tempe police officer Jessica Dever-Jakusz received probation last week for sleeping with an Ecstasy dealer she was supposed to be setting up for a sting.

Still, the daughter-in-law of the late Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is by no means the worst cop we can think of in recent Arizona history.

Read on for a quick roundup of the state's men-formerly-wearing-blue who most deserve your scorn:

10.) Larry Dever, deceased Cochise County Sheriff.

Dever-Jakusz's deceased father-in-law makes our list. Some cops work for decades to earn a great reputation in their communities before they're exposed as bad lawmen. This is Larry Dever's tragic tale. Just six months after being praised in a Phoenix New Times article, Dever was found dead in his totaled truck in the woods near Williams. The investigation showed he'd been speeding down a dirt road blind drunk and surrounded by open liquor containers. An autopsy later showed he had a .29 BAC, belying his crafted image as a tea totaler and displaying in catastrophic fashion his failure to live up to any higher standard.

9.) Armando Ramirez

A spat with his wife somehow caused Armando Ramirez to fire his gun in his home in 2011. His department, Phoenix, later stated to the public that officials were "extremely concerned" about the welfare of his family. The five-year veteran was convicted for unlawful discharge of a weapon and lost his badge, but somehow managed to land a job as an investigator for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. He's now back in criminal court, fighting charges that he defrauded his employer and veterans groups and lied about having overseas combat experience.

8.) James Wren

James Wren told his accomplice in 2008 that he was joining the Phoenix Police Department and was "down to do shit." The pair set up drug deals that ended with Wren stopping suspects in his patrol car and stealing tens of thousands of dollars. He'd earned $36,000 for himself after two such robberies before members of his own force arrested him -- at some risk to themselves -- at the Estrella Mountain Precinct. He was sentenced in 2011 to 1.5 years in prison.

7. Martin Ward

Martin Ward was a Tucson cop for five years before an investigation accused him of forging documents to receive government benefits, threatening his girlfriend and assault. That's bad enough -- but Ward's a sicko who enjoys downloading and sharing child porn. In 2013, while being sentenced to 10 years in prison, Ward told his former employer: "To the Tucson Police Department -- the next time you want to take a shot at me behind my back, aim at my head."

6.) Ramon "Charley" Armendariz

The public has yet to learn the extent of the corruption committed by ex-Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Ramon "Charley" Armendariz, who was found to have a smorgasbord of illegal drugs, about 100 license plates and hundreds drivers licenses in his Phoenix home following an April 30 raid. It seems to be evidence that he was shaking down people during traffic stops. He was found dead of apparent hanging in his home on May 8.

The case has drawn the keen interest of U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow because Armendariz had been a key witness in the high-profile Melendres court case in Snow's courtroom. Snow ruled in 2013 that Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio led systematic discrimination against Hispanics. The judge continues to oversee operations of a federal monitor installed in Arpaio's office, and of the ongoing probe of Armendariz's actions. Still unanswered: Whether Arpaio and other MCSO employees knew what Armendariz had been doing -- and how many other deputies were doing the same thing.

5.) Helaman Barlow

Helaman Barlow, the former chief marshal for Colorado City and neighboring Hlidale, Utah, helped lead what was probably the most insane police department in the country. Barlow stepped down last year and testified for the federal government, acknowledging his department was under the total control of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the nation's most infamous polygamous cult.

4.) Tim Abrahamson

Tim Abrahamson was considered a model employee for the MCSO, and had worked on Arpaio's ultimately discredited anti-corruption task force during his seven years on the force. The model deputy drove to North Dakota in 2012 to assault the man he believed was his wife's lover. He was sentenced in 2013 to 180 days in jail. Steve Carpenter, the deputy who drove with Abrahamson from the Valley, resigned after receiving immunity for his own actions in return for testifying about his colleague.

3.) David Hendershott

We decided not to put Dave Hendershott's former boss, Sheriff Arpaio, on this list -- he's more politician than cop. But Hendershott, Arpaio's longtime right-hand man and ex-chief deputy, sure deserves to be rated among the state's worst cops. After an internal investigation concluded he'd misused his power for financial gain and had run a corrupt anti-corruption task force, (the same one that Abrahamson did some work on), Arpaio fired him and another top aide in 2011.

2.) Richard Chrisman

Richard Chrisman, a nine-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, shot and killed 28-year-old Danny Rodriguez and Rodriguez's dog for no good reason in 2007. Responding to a 911 call by Rodriguez's mom, Chrisman went haywire when questioned by the suspect, pulling out his gun, putting it to Rodriguez's head and yelling, "I don't need no warrant, motherfucker." The confrontation ended with Rodriguez and his dog dead on the floor. Chrisman's partner, who was at the scene and watched Chrisman murder Rodriguez, testified at the trial. Chrisman received a seven-year prison sentence.

1.) Jack Hudson

The Chrisman case is exceeded as an example of the worst Arizona cops only by the case of ex-Yuma County Sheriff's Deputy Jack Hudson, as far as we know. In 1995, Hudson shot and killed two fellow members of the Southwest Border Alliance, Yuma police Lieutenant Dan Elkins and Arizona DPS Sergeant Mike Crowe during an attempted raid of the group's drug-evidence locker. His gun misfired as he tried to murder a third officer, who asked him what was going on. "You know what I'm doing. Fuck cops. Fuck dopers," Hudson replied. He's now serving a life sentence.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern