Three former Mesa Police officers have come before the last two Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board meetings.
AZPOST is the governing body that controls Arizona Peace Officer licenses.
The Tribune requested complaints and results of investigations on the three former officers – Brian W. Gray, Spencer P. Allen and Andrew E. Johnson – on Aug. 20. As of the Tribune’s deadline, the Mesa Police Department had not provided the documents.
On July 21, the AZPOST board accepted the voluntary relinquishment of Peace Officer Certification submitted “without admitting to any misconduct” of six former law enforcement officers, including Allen.
On Aug. 18, according to AZPOST minutes, Gray and a former Tombstone officer “without admitting to any misconduct, requests the board accept their request to permanently relinquish their Arizona peace officer certification.”
Nine days later, the Mesa Police Department sent a press release regarding Gray, a former school resource officer.
According to the report, Gray admitted to sleeping on duty “approximately 100 times,” having sex with his wife at his school office, where he also admitted to watching pornography “on multiple occasions between 2014 and 2020.”
Additionally, “Officer Gray disclosed he conducted a Spanish translation for another officer, and during court testimony he did not give accurate answers to the conversation he had with the suspect.”
An internal investigation that recommended Gray be terminated stated information was “learned during a Pinetop-Lakeside Police Department background investigation.”
Gray applied for a job at Pinetop, but the information he provided during polygraph testing cost him his license.
“AZPOST provided the Mesa Police Department with a background investigation report from this agency in which they documented alleged criminal and sexual related incidents that Gray disclosed during his background interview and two polygraph examinations for their department,” Sgt. Chuck Trapani of the Mesa PD said.
“Some of the incidents occurred while Gray was a school resource officer…none of the incidents investigated involved any students.”
Mesa Police began an investigation of Gray in June and placed him on leave.
“Upon completion of the internal investigation and during the adjudication process Gray was provided with a notice of intent to discipline/pre-deprivation hearing that was scheduled for July 19, 2021. Gray did not attend the hearing, nor did he provide a written response,” Trapani said.
“Prior to the completion of the investigation, Gray retired through the Arizona Public Safety Retirement System,” Trapani said.
Police did not disclose the school or schools Gray worked at.
“I am deeply disturbed with the conduct and behavior of Gray...Gray’s conduct has stripped away the trust and confidence that is required to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a Mesa Police Officer,” Mesa Assistant Police Chief Ed Wessing said.
The Tribune asked Trapani about the Mesa Police Department’s current oversight of police officers who work in schools, and if any changes were being implemented after the Gray case.
“The Mesa Police Department currently has two School Resource Officer (SRO) police sergeants that supervise the 16 Mesa Police Department SROs,” Trapani responded.
“These sergeants are responsible for conducting periodic checks on SROs at their assigned schools, both announced and unannounced visits,” he said. “The current oversight with the SRO sergeant supervision of the SROs has not been revised at this time.”
Regarding whether the false Spanish translation Gray said he provided was being investigated, Trapani said, “Gray did not give specifics as to names of those involved, what court, location, valid date or time of occurrence when being interviewed by Pinetop-Lakeside PD.”
Gray retired before Mesa investigators could interview him for further details.”
Johnson is another former Mesa officer being investigated by the state board.
On July 21, AZPOST Compliance Specialist William Caldwell told board members that on July 17, 2020, “Officer Andrew Johnson visited friends, a married couple who live in Glendale. Over the course of the evening, Johnson and those friends consumed alcohol and by all accounts Johnson became heavily intoxicated.”
After Johnson “became aggressive and combative, assaulted them and damaged property,” the couple called the Glendale Police Department, Caldwell said.
“Criminal charges were submitted by officers but never filed,” Caldwell added.
The Mesa Police Department terminated Johnson for “unbecoming conduct.”