Bill Richardson Takes DPS to Task for Baseball-Tickets Scandal and Other Possible Signs of a "Failed Agency"

Categories: Cop Gossip

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Above: The game-day TV screen shot that sparked the investigation of Hegarty. Below: The check Hegarty claimed paid for the tickets. It was cashed by the Arizona Trucking Association a month after the baseball game, and after Hegarty knew he'd be investigated

In a column today in the East Valley Tribune, former police officer Bill Richardson takes the Arizona Department of Public Safety to task for a baseball-ticket scandal and other possible signs of a failed agency.

New Times broke the story last December of the investigation into the DPS' former No. 2 guy, Jack Hegarty, for allegedly taking baseball tickets from the trucking industry. We followed that up last week with a feature article detailing the cozy relationship between DPS higher-ups and the Arizona Trucking Association. The ATA had been treating DPS commercial-vehicle enforcement supervisors including Hegarty to primo seats at Arizona Diamondbacks games, our investigation showed, and Hegarty -- with approval from DPS Director Robert Halliday -- banned most highway patrol officers from stopping commercial vehicles unless they had suspicion of a traffic violation.

Hegarty, during the internal probe into the ticket scandal that preceded his unexpected retirement in January, complained that he was being treated unfairly -- since Halliday took free tickets from the ATA, too.

See also: DPS Honchos' Ethics Are Questioned After Sports-Ticket Probe

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Robert Halliday, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, took free baseball tickets from the Arizona Trucking Industry, according to the former Highway Patrol chief.

Richardson's column notes other recent problems with the DPS, including a recent rapping by the U.S. Senate for "questionable spending" in an anti-terrorism program.

"Since Halliday was handpicked by Gov. Jan Brewer," Richardson writes, "DPS has been plagued with morale problems, cronyism, ethical questions and concerns about its inability to perform statutory duties. There are reasons organized crime from Mexico likes doing business in Arizona and an inadequate statewide law enforcement system could be one of them."

Richardson stops short of calling for Halliday's resignation following that criticism, but wonders at the end of his column, "Has DPS become another failed state agency?"

We're hoping to see more details in the future about the problems at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, which is run by DPS. As an October 7 article by Cronkite News Service pointed out:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a written statement that the committee's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations "found a remarkable degree of ineffectiveness, ineptitude and waste" in the program.

McCain's statement stands in stark contrast to a sentence on the DPS bio for Halliday:

Director Halliday also served as the Commander of the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center that is a nationally recognized model in the development of the "fusion center" counter terrorism concept.

The "overspending" at ACTIC included the purchase of two pricey SUVs for terrorism liaison officers at the Flagstaff and Arizona State University police departments. At least one of the trucks was used for workplace commuting. But federal oversight of the spending was lax, a Senate investigation found, making it unclear how much of the overspending can be blamed on state officials. More troubling was the allegation by the Senate that the ACTIC set up a "wire room" for surveillance related to criminal investigations, even though program rules "do not include covert or surreptitious intelligence gathering."

With the sort of ethics-bending leadership at the DPS that our sports-ticket article exposed, it's easy to imagine that other, perhaps more serious problems, are yet to be discovered.

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I have a few friends who work at DPS. ALL of them are looking to leave. They tell me the big things Halliday has done since taking office, well besides taking free baseball tickets, choking an elderly man and lying about it, and have the Glendale PD set up a substation in his living room because his he cant control his families domestic violence issues. He changed all the ranks of supervisors. Not to mention bought a bunch of new badges, had stationary changed-all during the budget crunch in 2010. Ask an officer who hasn't had a pay raise in 7 years how he/she felt about Halliday spending tens of thousand of dollars on new badges and titles? Or changed the uniforms to a crappy uniform that fades or tears. From what they tell me the previous uniform was alright, but it was given the OK under Vanderpool's admin, so Halliday had to get rid of it. Again, this in 2010 when the state was talking layoffs, budget issues, etc. Ask a teacher how he/she fells about having to pay for their classroom materials out of pocket, but the DPS director can spending 10k+ on new badges? Hey Ray, here's another tidbit my friends tell me. The director and his command staff are so lazy, they fly EVERYWHERE around the state.....on the tax payers dime. An example, when the K9 officer left his dog in the car and killed it. Instead of driving (or being driven since he's royalty) Halliday and crew took the DPS plane down to Tucson, had to take officers off patrol to pick them up, drive them to the vets and then eventually back to the plane. I mean how much would a cars tank of gas cost for a 90 minute car ride to Tucson versus a plane flights fuel cost? This is ridiculous, but from what they tell me he does this all the time. Hes to lazy to drive. They also said Vanderpool, even though they didn't care for that hippy liberal, at least used to drive everywhere, unless its an emergency. Request a public info on the DPS flight log and see how many times Halliday has taken the plane when a car would have been much more cost effective? But like they tell me, Halliday could care less. Its your tax money, not his!!


Only the tip of the iceberg here; hopefully other officer will come forward about the severity of the issues, corruption within the ranks, and rights violations against employees. The Arizona Department of Public Safety has gone unchecked for too long. It’s time for the Department of Justice to come in for an audit of the department, its head hunters and its internal files.

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