Casa Grande Officer's Credibility Questioned 11-30-2010

Amanda Hernandez, CBS 5 News Reporter
CASA GRANDE, Ariz.The paperwork from the Casa Grande Police Department spells it out: a 15-year career officer suspended for a false report involving a breathalyzer he controlled.
"The officer was unable to locate the document that showed that a test had been done and attempted to re-create that on the machine," said Casa Grande Police Chief Robert Huddleston.
In 2009, Officer Bret Christofferson was the department's quality assurance specialist for the Intoxilyzer machines. Part of his job was to calibrate the machines every 31 days and submit the paperwork to the prosecutor's office.
"It is evidence that is presented in court and utilized by the defense attorney to make assurances that the testing was done. So it is not something that we can create," said Huddleston.
But re-creating is what Christofferson admitted to doing when he could not find some paperwork.
"The officer, in an attempt to re-create it, actually had to dial back the date on the Intoxilyzer," Huddleston said. "And to do that is a violation in itself. The machine should never be tampered with."
So what about DUI arrests associated with that tampered machine? Police said independent testing showed the tampering never affected results and did not lead to any inaccurate DUI arrests.
Christofferson eventually admitted he lied and received a 40-hour suspension, Huddleston said. He was also removed from his quality control position and taken off the traffic enforcement unit. Christofferson, however, remains a patrol officer.
"There was no permanent harm done, and I think we addressed it in an appropriate manner. Police officers are human beings like anyone else and they will make mistakes," said Huddleston.
While the investigation is complete, the problem now becomes that of prosecutors, they said. The Casa Grande City Attorney's Office said if they ever do need to call Christofferson to testify, he will obviously have credibility issues.

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