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Phoenix Police Officer Accused of Tampering, Stealing Drugs

KSAZ FOX 10 | KUTP My45,

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Narcotics stolen from evidence locker

2011-03-07_INT_Phoenix Police Officer Accused of Tampering_01
PHOENIX - Phoenix Police announced Monday they've arrested one of their own, accused of tampering with evidence and stealing seized drugs.

The announcement comes just days after Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris was forced to step aside for possible involvement in inflating kidnapping statistics.

It's the latest crisis facing an already-embattled department.

Monday, a Phoenix Police detective was arrested, questioned, and released. After being confronted by his higher ups today, the detective resigned -- another blow for the Phoenix Police department.

"It is another event for the Phoenix Police Department that embarrasses us... our process is also the one that caught an individual trying to get away with something covertly and using their position to do it," said Sgt. Trent Crump.

Internal investigators believe the officer, a 12 year veteran, was stealing Oxycotin pills from an evidence room.

This all came to light because of an audit in January. Investigators believe the detective in question stole the pills from the evidence locker and then swapped them out with over-the-counter drugs, like aspirin.

"During this inspection audit, which included lab analysis, over the counter medications appeared to have been substituted for items which had been previously tested and found to be narcotics," said Crump.

The detective is accused of taking up to 2,400 Oxycotin pills -- but the problem could be even more widespread.

Internal investigators are continuing to test drug evidence.

Phoenix Police would not give us the officer's name at this time. They are working with the County Attorney's Office on charges, which will likely include theft and evidence tampering.

At this point investigators don't know how long this detective might have been stealing drugs, but police say this is not something that happens often. They add that an arrest will be made once they have finished gathering all the evidence.

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