Twenty-five Officers Eyed in Phoenix PD Fraud Investigation -- Including Officer Richard Chrisman and Sergeant Sean Drenth

Categories: News
PHX_CHIEF_JACKHARRIS.jpg
Stephen Lemons
Phoenix police Chief Jack Harris says fraud allegations are "misconduct" not corruption.
Phoenix police Chief Jack Harris (yeah, we're still callin' him "chief" until he takes off the uniform) insisted this afternoon that the Phoenix Police Department is not a "corrupt organization," as he explained the department's role in the investigation of three Phoenix police officers -- and one former officer -- indicted for fraud.

In total, 25 officers within the department were investigated by the Attorney General's Office for what basically boils down to a time-theft scam. The scam cost several businesses that hired off-duty Phoenix police officers to act as security guards about $16,000. Included in those investigated by the AG's Office are the department's killer cop, Richard Chrisman, and Sergeant Sean Drenth, who was mysteriously found shot to death near the State Capitol last month.

Skeptics suggest Drenth's death might have something to with this investigation, but Harris claims to have no knowledge of any connection. However, he did say the detectives investigating Drenth's death are aware of the fraud investigation.

As for his role in the scam, Harris says, if Drenth were still alive, he probably would face felony theft charges.

According to Harris, officers do about $30 million worth of off-duty work a year at various events around the community. He says the department's off-duty work program will continue, but will be reviewed by the city auditor.

The 25 officers investigated by the AG's Office who weren't indicted have been suspended from off-duty work, Harris says, and their cases will be turned over to the professional standards bureau, which will determine any further disciplinary action.

The fraud indictments are just the latest in a series of problems plaguing the Phoenix Police Department. Each of these seem to come from one place: the South Mountain Precinct, which was home to Chrisman, Drenth, and the majority of the officers investigated by the AG's Office.

Harris recently made several leadership changes at the precinct to try to clean up what is perceived to be the city's most corrupt precinct.

But Harris says the problems are "misconduct," not corruption.

"Painting the Phoenix Police Department as a corrupt organization because of this investigation is unfair," he says.

Although, he says, "This is not what we expect from the Phoenix Police Department."

This may not be what we expect from the Phoenix Police Department as a whole, but this is exactly what we've come to expect from the South Mountain Precinct lately.

Below are photos of the three current officers indicted for theft, Benjamin Sywarungsymun, er Steven Peck, and Aaron Lentz.

STEVEN PECK.jpg
Phoenix PD
Officer Steven Peck


BENJAMIN SYWARUNGSYMUN.jpg
Phoenix PD
Sergeant Benjamin Sywarungsymun


AARON LENTZ.jpg
Phoenix PD
Officer Aaron Lentz




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9 comments
Saltywench
Saltywench

How old is Officer Lentz? He looks about 14!

Anon
Anon

Mr. King, Please make the photos of the officers smaller. These are waaay over the top!

Johnny White Man
Johnny White Man

This is primarily in the South Moutain Precinct. Which is the most controversial Precinct in the valley. Not the entire P-town PD. I agree with TommyC1. Also, I wonder if that traitor-Mark Spencer is a part of this organized crime syndicate? He could be the actual ringleader, not that "retired" cop. As Mark Spencer is known to defend murderous cops(i.e. see officer Chrisman). They better indict Mark Spencer as well, and dismantle the corrupt PLEA.

Ross
Ross

Our local Mormon radio station is reporting that one of the four is "retired."

Is that what you call it when you quit after 18 years, without a pension?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

"Harris is wrong -- this is exactly what we've come to expect from the Phoenix Police Department."

Mr. King, I will take exception to your statement. This seems to be a total indictment of the Phoenix Police Department based on the known actions of a few, very few, apparently bad employees.

I would ask that you NOT disparage all the professional officers at PPD because they are in the process of cleaning house.

As, I would ask that no one issue a blanket indictment against the professional officers working at MCSO, based on the actions of the Flaccid Fool and many others there.

At least PPD appears to be transparent and cooperative. We can't accuse MCSO of same.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Change your screen size and they will get smaller.

James King
James King

I don't mean to take anything away from the good Phoenix cops, which the vast majority probably are. What I mean is that given everything that's going on in that department these days, this news is far from shocking. Even less shocking is that Chrisman was involved.

James King
James King

I gave it some more thought, Tommy, and agree with you. That broad statement isn't fair. I've edited that last sentence. Thanks.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Mr. King, thank you. I will agree PPD is taking it in the shorts in the media right now. I appreciate your zeal...

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