Secret Service investigates Peoria police sergeantPosted: Updated:
PEORIA, Ariz. -- First, it was the picture of Gov. Jan Brewer pointing her finger at President Barack Obama's face and now another photo out of the Valley involving the president is gaining nationwide attention. It's also prompted an investigation by the Secret Service.
The Secret Service is investigating a Peoria police officer for the controversial picture he posted on Facebook.
“Sgt. Patrick Shearer is assigned to our northern patrol bureau, he’s a patrol sergeant and he's a 25-year veteran of the department,” said Peoria police spokesman Jay Davies.
Shearer is also now under investigation by the Secret Service for a picture he had posted on his Facebook page.
The picture shows seven teenage boys holding guns and a T-shirt with the president’s face on it, which appears to have been used for target practice.
“It could be a political statement I guess, but at the same time it almost makes you wonder what it’s about,” said concerned citizen Carrie McManus.
The Secret Service says the picture was brought to its attention by a concerned citizen.
“Anytime information is brought to our attention that an individual or group of people shows unusual interest in one of our protectees, we always conduct follow-up,” said Brian Leary, an agency spokesman.
“Something like that with the president’s face on it, I'm sure they’d look into it at least,” said Jasper Herrera, a concerned citizen.
Peoria police are looking into it, too.
“Our role in this is to conduct an internal investigation to see if any of our internal policies have been violated,” Davies said.
We knocked on Shearer's door looking for comment but no one answered.
We know at least some of these teens attend Centennial High School and play football.
“I think it was more of a joke just to mess around and say, 'Oh look we shot up an Obama shirt, we're teenagers, we do stupid stuff,” said fellow classmate Paige Pileggi. “It just seems a little irresponsible for the father, also a Peoria police sergeant, to post a picture like that, but I don't think he was doing any harm. People just need to be more careful what they post on the Internet. It can come back to bite you.”
“Individuals have the right to freedom of speech and expression, but we have the right and obligation to speak to those individuals to find out what is their intent,” Leary said.
The Peoria Unified School District says it too is cooperating with the investigation.
Shearer remains on duty pending the outcome of the internal investigation into whether or not he violated the department’s social media policy. The policy reads in part, “If an employee identifies their employment with the agency… they assume responsibility for representing the agency in a professional manner while employed.”
Shearer had pictures of himself in uniform on his Facebook page, but those, along with the controversial picture in question, have all been taken down.