During a two-year stint as a school resource officer, principals complained he was rarely seen on campus and didnt turn in reports.
Sounds like a great cop to me. at least he aint arresting people for victimless crimes like most cops do.
Chandler detective fired for mishandling cases By Kristina Davis, Tribune February 10, 2006
Chandler police have fired a detective after an internal investigation found he mishandled evidence in 46 criminal cases and allowed suspected sexual predators to slip through the cracks over the past five years.
Records show that police supervisors repeatedly warned Arnold Orozco about how he handled his cases, but police officials took little corrective action until recently when officers re-arrested a Peeping Tom who was never charged in one of the detectives 2001 investigations.
Orozco, who worked as a sex crimes detective and later as a resource officer at Chandlers Basha High School, was fired last month after officials learned he failed to submit charges to prosecutors in 11 criminal cases, including child pornography, molestation and drugs.
He also withheld 73 pieces of property or evidence from 46 different criminal cases dating to 2000. Instead of turning the material over to the departments property room, the evidence sat in Orozcos personal locker at the department or in cardboard boxes at his apartment, according to his Jan. 23 dismissal letter.
During the past four years, Orozco bounced from assignment to assignment, accruing complaints from citizens and poor performance evaluations regarding his caseload management from each of his new sergeants. During a two-year stint as a school resource officer, principals complained he was rarely seen on campus and didnt turn in reports.
Despite the complaints, the only disciplinary action Orozco received during his 12-year career came in 1998, when he received a verbal reprimand for failing to complete a report.
It wasnt until 2005, when patrol officers arrested a man who was caught peering into a girls bedroom window, that the agency began to seriously question Orozcos investigative career.
SEX CRIMES SUSPECTS GO FREE
The Peeping Tom suspect had a habit of prowling a Chandler apartment complex, secretly videotaping people having sex and women undressing. But after a highspeed chase in 2001, officers finally caught up with Robert Divers, a 45-year-old engineer.
Orozco, a new sex crimes detective, took over the investigation.
When he and other detectives raided Divers Phoenix apartment, they discovered a stash of sex tapes and 24 items of child pornography. Divers was also listed as a suspect in two 1993 child molestation cases.
In interviews with Orozco, police reports show Divers acknowledged his voyeuristic addictions, calling it a compulsion kind of thing. Orozco completed the report, ending with the statement that he had forwarded child pornography charges to the Maricopa County Attorneys Office.
But Orozco never submitted the paperwork, and Divers was released from jail.
Four years later in May, patrol officers found Divers in another Chandler neighborhood peering through the bedroom window of a 13-year-old girl.
The new case detective was puzzled by Divers record. Why hadnt Orozco submitted charges in the 2001 incident?
Still, police officials did not launch an investigation in Orozcos handling of the Divers case until five months later, when they discovered he had stashed tapes of his 2001 interviews with the suspect in his personal locker instead of turning them over to the departments property room.
You failed to charge this suspect in that case, allowing the suspect the freedom and ability to re-offend, his dismissal letter states.
Orozco attributed the oversight to absent mindedness, according to reports.
I completed the report, I thought I filed but obviously records show I didnt, Orozco said. Nobody caught it.
An internal audit of Orozcos cases turned up many other discrepancies, including numerous pieces of evidence that he either buried in his locker or stored in a box at home over the past few years. Some of the evidence included crack pipes, sexually explicit videos and $40 in cash.
Besides the 11 cases that were never forwarded for prosecution, two other cases involving child molestations were sent back to Orozco by the county attorneys office because prosecutors wanted further information.
But Orozco never completed the paperwork, the report states.
One case involved a 6-yearold boy who told his mother that he was molested by his 18-year-old male babysitter.
The second case was a stepfather accused of molesting two teenage sisters.
The Tribune was unable to locate Orozco for comment, and Chandler police also tried unsuccessfully to reach Orozco on behalf of the Tribune.
WARNINGS PILE UP
Orozco joined the sex crimes division in 2000 after receiving several commendations as a bicycle officer.
But by early 2002, his supervisor began to note that due to personal problems, Orozco had fallen behind on his casework.
Over the next year, Orozco received several warnings.
In one case, a suspect was released from jail because Orozco didnt get the charges forwarded to the county attorney within the 48-hour time limit. His supervisor suggested Orozco come in on the weekends to catch up on his backlog.
Every time we talked about his case track issues, he seemed to feel that it was just a matter of time that he would be able to get those cases caught up, sex crimes Sgt. Jesse Boggs told an internal investigator.
By September 2003, Orozco had received several complaints from citizens for not returning their calls, not following up on information provided by citizens and not keeping victims updated on the progress of their cases. One citizen complained that Orozco didnt seem to take a case seriously.
FRESH START AT TWO CHANDLER SCHOOLS
Saying he wanted to work with children in a more positive way, Orozco chose to leave the sex crimes unit in 2003 and become a school resource officer at San Tan Junior High and Basha High schools.
When he transferred, he took with him 15 to 20 sex crimes cases he needed to finish, but by October they were still not completed.
It was then that Boggs placed Orozco on a 90-day probation, which is less serious than a disciplinary action.
In March, Orozcos new supervisor put him on a second probation because he still hadnt completed cases from 2001. It wasnt until July 2004 when he cleared his caseload, and he was taken off probation.
But at the same time principals at the two schools where Orozco worked were less than happy with his performance.
Basha principal Kristine Marchiando told supervisors that Orozco rarely showed up on campus and didnt submit paperwork for campus crimes.
She requested that a second officer, who had filled in for a few days at the school, replace Orozco permanently. He met more kids in the couple days he was down there than officer Orozco had done in two years, she says in the report.
San Tan principal Frank Narducci said he had not seen Orozco at his school for several months.
SROs are an invaluable resource for us, Narducci told the Tribune. Its important to get the right person for the job who really wants to do it. We wanted someone in the position to be consistent to get to know our kids.
BACK ON PATROL
By June 2005, Orozco was again having problems with his caseload, and he told his supervisor he wanted to go back into patrol because he was bored with his school assignment.
As an officer back on the road, Orozco still could never get caught up. His new supervisor wrote in August that his pending case list contained numerous investigations that either required a follow-up, submittals to the county attorney or were missing completely.
A month later, the internal affairs investigation was launched.
Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler and assistant city manager Rich Dlugas declined to comment on why it took so long to look closely at Orozco because he has appealed his dismissal.
In the reports, officials concluded that supervisors were not to blame for Orozcos mishandling of cases. Orozco also did not fault supervisors.
I think, bottom line, its my responsibility, he stated in a report. Its incumbent upon me to complete those tasks, whether or not a supervisor, you know, being more involved would have countered that, I dont know. Theyve got logs to follow, theyve got checklists to check off, and Im sure all that was done.
But the policies and checklists that detectives used to track cases made it virtually impossible for sergeants to follow whether cases were actually filed to prosecutors.
When a report was completed, it was inspected by records clerks and a sergeant, but then it was up to the detective to forward the case to the prosecutors.
All a detective had to do was log the case as complete in the computer tracking system, and the case would be listed as closed.
The agency has since changed how cases are handled to allow for more oversight, although a spokeswoman said it was not a direct result of the Orozco investigation.
Now cases remain in the departments computer system as pending until the court makes a decision whether to prosecute the case. Also, it is up to a sergeant not the detective to make sure a case gets forwarded to prosecutors.
Its another system of checks and balances, said Chandler detective Livi Kacic. It adds one more layer.
Contact Kristina Davis by email, or phone (480)-898-6446