Former State Trooper Claims Breakup With Arizona DPS Director Robert Halliday's Daughter Got Him Investigated and Fired

A former state trooper claims he was falsely accused of crimes and fired last year after a brief fling with the daughter of the state Department of Public Safety's director.

Geoffrey Jacobs, a six-year veteran and former pilot with the DPS, filed a federal lawsuit yesterday that accuses the agency and its director of violating his civil rights and damaging his reputation -- all because of the ill-fated love affair.

Ami Halliday, (the daughter), the city of Glendale and its police department, several DPS and Glendale law officers, and unnamed corporations are also named as defendants.

The DPS declined to comment on the matter. But the lawsuit states that it investigated Jacobs for secretly taping sex acts, aggravated assault, and posting explicit pictures of the daughter on the Internet. None of the accusations resulted in a criminal charge.

Jacobs name has been in the news before but always related to his duties with the DPS. In his role on the DPS' photo-enforcement unit, Jacobs was the trooper who arrested Republican Party Executive Director Brett Mecum in May 2009 for criminal speeding. 

In the lawsuit, Jacobs states that he began the affair with Ami Halliday in fall 2008, but broke it off on November 5 of that year. Halliday, ticked off at being dumped, "threatened Jacobs that he would 'live to regret this,'" the suit says.

Three weeks later, Robert Halliday -- then a DPS commander -- "filed a false and malicious complaint against Jacobs on behalf of his daughter," according to the suit.

The Hallidays, states Jacobs, accused him of secretely taping him and Ami Halliday having sex, "possibly" raping an ex-girlfriend, and posting nude photos of Ami online without her consent. They also accused Jacobs' roommate, John Wright, of pointing a gun at Ami, the suit states.

The DPS internal affairs department, called the Office of Professional Standards, opened an investigation into Jacobs. But that investigation was reportedly halted after the Glendale Police Department opened a criminal investigation.

The Glendale PD pulled Wright over "at gunpoint" on January 15, 2009, but Wright denied ever pointing a gun at Ami Halliday. Jacobs notes in his lawsuit that Halliday never reported or mentioned the alleged incident to police until after the two broke up.

Meanwhile, on the same day, Glendale detectives searched Jacobs' home (without a warrant), seized his computers and interviewed Jacobs at work without allowing him the benefit of a lawyer, the suit states.

No "credible evidence" was found to support any of the claims against Jacobs. However, Glendale police did ask the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to charge Jacobs with revealing peace officer info on the Web because he'd published pictures of his "officer friends" on a private Facebook page.

County prosecutors declined the case, but the DPS wasn't done with Jacobs.

The "fishing expedition" conducted on Jacobs' computers turned up evidence of "additional misconduct." The suit doesn't share details of the alleged misconduct, but it was apparently serious enough to have Jacobs walked out the door on September 9, 2009.

Someone posted an unflattering comment about Jacobs a few days later on a dating Web site.

After Jacobs applied for unemployment benefits, he claims in the suit, a DPS official wrote the Department of Economic Security that Jacobs had been fired for an "off-duty criminal offense" and for failing to 'fess up to it when confronted. Jacobs denies both of the accusations.

"[The] DPS has also made false and malicious statements about Jacobs ... to the effect that Jacobs' personal computer contained child pornography," the suit states.

The lawsuit doesn't go into detail about who at the DPS made the kiddie-porn allegation, but it stands to reason that Jacobs would be facing serious criminal charges if the agency really had such evidence.

By mid-November of 2009, the DPS Law Enforcement Merit System Council had upheld Jacobs' termination. Besides the civil rights violations, Jacobs accuses the DPS and the others of invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress, defamation and negligent supervision. He's seeking reimbursement for lost wages, punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

Robert "Bobby" Halliday was promoted to DPS director last January by Governor Jan Brewer. Jacobs' Phoenix attorney, Caroline Pilch, did not return a phone call to New Times. We'll follow up on this one when we learn more.

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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.