Scathing report finds serious problems in Phoenix Crimes Against Children Unit

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A veteran Phoenix police detective is accused of not doing his job -- investigating alleged crimes against children.

According to a new 27-page report released Thursday by the City Auditor, dozens of cases involving reported crimes against children, including several sex crimes, were not properly investigated until months, even as much as a year, after the allegations were first made.

This goes back to 2007, when a report first revealed problems in the Phoenix Police Department's Family Investigations Bureau. That initial report focused on a specific detective with the Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU). When that detective, Alan MacIver, retired last summer, many of his cases remained open.

According to the new audit, "81 percent of the former detective's cases reviewed did not follow case-management policy or procedures and likely lacked sufficient supervisory review." Despite the revelation of what appeared to be serious issues in 2007, no formal changes in policy or procedure were made.

The same Police Department Profession Standards Bureau detective who first looked at the situation in 2007 did a follow-up over the summer and determined that "the CACU detective's case management issues had not been resolved."

"Additionally, the former Detective's open cases that were transferred to CACU supervisory personnel after the Detective's retirement received limited attention," the newly released report continued, implying that many of the cases fell through the cracks.

Acting Police Chief Joseph G. Yahner released a statement regarding the City Auditor's report:

“The City Auditor’s final report concerning a review of the Police Department’s Family Investigations Bureau, Child Crimes Unit ... report details a number of serious investigative deficiencies identified within that Unit that we are currently in the process of correcting.

"As Acting Police Chief, I can assure you I am doing everything within my power to make sure the issues identified by the audit team are properly addressed so that they are not repeated in the future. The Phoenix Police Department is committed to ensuring that all crimes, especially those committed against our children, are thoroughly investigated."

Yahner is scheduled to appear before the Public Safety and Veterans Subcommittee when it meets Tuesday to talk about what he has done and will do to deal with the issues in the CACU.

Not only will a special task force take a closer look at some 2,500 cases associated with MacIver, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the FBI will investigate to determine if any charges will be filed.