PHOENIX – Alleged evidence tampering and drug theft are being investigated within the already embattled Phoenix Police Department.
A former Phoenix detective who had been with the department since 1999 has resigned amid the investigation. His name has not been released. The officer was initially arrested but later released.
Police say the alleged crimes could have been taking place for years.
In January, the Police Department conducted a routine and random audit of evidence items that had been cleared for destruction.
This procedure takes place every three months but the timing is random, as is the focus on items that have been taken as evidence.
Investigators determined that some items that had initially tested as narcotics had been swapped out with over-the-counter pills. In one case, prescription pills were replaced with the medication Aleve.
The Phoenix Police Department's Professional Standards Bureau noticed a pattern and investigators were able to trace some of the discrepancies back to at least one detective.
“At this point we believe that over 2,400 pills have either been removed or swapped out,” said Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump.
So far it has been determined that 83 pieces of evidence have been tampered with. Of those items, only two dozen packages have been analyzed so far.
The investigation remains ongoing and officers still have plans to serve search warrants.
The Police Department is working with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office so that they can build their case and be able to take the officer in question back into custody.