Four Apache Junction police officers were placed on administrative leave during an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation within the police department, it was announced Tuesday.
Because the investigation is not complete, the names of the officers will not be released, said City Attorney Joel Stern.
Last fall, the Virginia-based Carroll Buracker and Associates reported incidents of sexual remarks and "off-color jokes" at the department, rowdy behavior during a sexual harassment class, inconsistent disciplinary practices and retaliation.
Tempe consulting firm Sereno Group Inc. looked into the allegations further and submitted its report last week, Stern said.
The information was "of such significance" that an internal investigation is now needed, interim Chief Steve Campbell said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Placing the officers on leave "secures the integrity of the entire process so the individuals who made the allegations do not feel intimidated in the presence of the accused officers," Stern said.
Stern said he will meet with Campbell within the next few days to determine who should conduct the internal investigation — another consulting group or an outside police agency.
It is hoped the investigation will be completed in July, Stern said.
The department has 40 to 50 officers, but the loss of the four officers will not harm the department, Stern said.
"We have commitments from other agencies who will help out if there's an emergency or we get low on manpower," Stern said.