Florence Official's Efforts to Yank Certification from Two Former Police Detectives Fails

Two former detectives fired from the Florence Police Department received good news from the officials at the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training.

AZ POST, the body that certifies police officers to carry a badge and a gun, informed both police officers in February that the state board is not taking any punitive action against their police certification and "the matter is closed."

Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson have been fighting to clear their name since being terminated in December 2012. They were fired, in part, for blowing the whistle on a lieutenant they believed was compromising criminal investigations by returning evidence in those cases.

See also: -Florence Exposed: A three-part investigative series exposing how the FPD's culture of political favoritism undermined criminal investigations and compromised public safety

Police Chief Dan Hughes, with the help of Lieutenant Terry Tryon (the same lieutenant who the detectives accused of wrongdoing), collected various allegations against the two cops and forwarded them to the town manager.

(Hughes is the former Surprise Police Chief who left his job after a majority of his officers cast a vote of no confidence in him.)

While the detectives were appealing their termination and disputing the allegations, Hughes sent notices to POST informing its board that the two had been fired and checked a box stating they had violated POST rules.

After reviewing the case, the board determined there wasn't actually anything in the complaints that called for yanking the cops' certification.

But it isn't over for the pair.

Both are pursuing legal action against the town.

Although the allegations against them were nearly identical, and found to be largely untrue or without merit, the hearing officer ordered that Hunter be reinstated but upheld Varnrobinson's termination.

Varnrobinson is now working for his old boss, Chief Robert Ingulli, at the Kearney Police Department.

Hunter and Varnrobinson are still waiting to hear from the Pinal County Attorney's Office, which is reviewing evidence in their case to determine whether they will be placed on the Law Enforcement Integrity Database. Also known as the Brady List, it's made up of police officers who've marred their integrity and is reviewed by prosecutors in criminal cases before asking police officers to testify.

We can't help but wonder whether Hughes' effort to get Hunter placed on the Brady List is his way of creating another opportunity to fire the guy -- again.

Got a tip? Send it to: Monica Alonzo.

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo