Video shows Prescott Valley police commander taking drugs

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- A Prescott Valley police commander has resigned amid allegations of misconduct.

Cmdr. Arthur Askew has been under investigation for allegedly stealing prescription drugs from the drug storage vault in the police department's evidence room.

According to police, the public voluntarily surrendered the drugs for destruction.

Police set up a motion-activated still camera and a covert video surveillance camera in the drug vault after receiving information in late November about suspicious activity in the vault.

The footage reportedly showed Askew removing prescription drugs from the discard box on Dec. 30 and 31.

Police said the footage corroborated with the information they received, and they served Askew with a notice of investigation on Jan. 2. Askew was placed on paid administrative leave pending completion of the internal review, but he chose to immediately resign.

On Jan. 5, Prescott Valley Police Chief Bryan Jarrell asked the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office to conduct a criminal review of the incident. The investigation was submitted to the Mohave County Attorney's Office for review on Friday.

Police also conducted an internal audit of the drug vault, inspecting more than 3,000 items. Police said the audit revealed that no criminal cases involving drugs or narcotics between 2005 and 2014 were compromised.

Police said they are also conducting an extensive review of the department's intake procedures for all evidence.

The department said in a statement that it is "committed to serving this community with integrity and transparency."

Police said Askew has cooperated fully throughout the investigation.

Investigators found more 1,000 pills in Askew's office. He told them he had become addicted to Percocet after two back injuries.

While privately battling the addiction, he was put in charge of the Prescott Valley Police Department's "Dump the Drugs" prescription drug drop-off program.

The temptation was too much.

Askew was not arrested. His case is now in the hands of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

Askew served more than 20 years with the department, helping to create and develop the SWAT and K-9 units. He served on different law enforcement commissions and boards for many years.

The statement also said, "The tragedy of this incident is that a good, honest, decent person became another victim to the power and control of addiction. It illustrates the fact that addiction makes people do things they never would have done otherwise; it does not care who you are or what your profession is.

"This should serve as a reminder to everyone that we must be vigilant to safeguard against the misuse of prescription medications. Everyone from the medical community to the patient must play a role to ensure prescription medications are properly dispensed, properly administered and, if appropriate, properly discarded."

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