Jack Hegarty, Demoted Highway Patrol Chief, Under Investigation for Use of Baseball Tickets Following Picture Taken of Him at Game

Jack Hegarty, the former boss of the Arizona Highway Patrol who was demoted in October, is being investigated for an allegedly unethical use of baseball tickets, the state Department of Public Safety confirmed today.

The probe was spurred by a photograph (see below) of Hegarty and another DPS officer, Tim Mason, sitting at a ball game this year in San Diego. We can't tell you at this point whether New Times' publication of the picture in October had anything to do with it, or if the agency knew of the picture before it was published. It was taken from a TV broadcast after Hegarty and Mason were seen displayed prominently on an overhead screen at the game, and later given to New Times by a source.

The Phoenix Police Department is handling the investigation for DPS.

Sources say the baseball tickets were owned by trucking industry interests. Hegarty has long worked with DPS' commercial vehicle enforcement efforts, which means investigators are likely looking at a possible conflict of interest.

Hegarty was DPS Director Robert Halliday's No. 2 man until the demotion that followed complaints by officers about his management style. His rank was lowered from lieutenant colonel to captain.

Hegarty and Mason (who's also apparently being probed) remain on the job as the investigation continues, says DPS spokesman Bart Graves. We'll try to get you more details on this investigation when we can.