Carmen Figueroa, DPS Detective Found to Be Undocumented, Had a Near-Perfect Record

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dps-stock-top.jpg
azdps.gov


Carmen Figueroa, the Arizona Department of Public Safety detective who had to resign after discovering that she wasn't in the country legally, had a near-perfect record as a police officer.

Figueroa's resignation became a national story last month, as Figueroa had believed what her parents told her since she was young -- that she was born in Texas. When her brother, who's in the military, applied for a passport, the State Department investigated their citizenship, and informed the siblings they were actually born in Mexico.

A review of the 10 years' worth of records in Figueroa's personnel file, released to New Times last week, shows a single incident Figueroa was disciplined for in her law-enforcement career.

Many times, when a police officer is making headlines for something negative, there's something to be found in an officer's personnel file (consider that the Maricopa County "Brady list" obtained a few years ago by our colleague Stephen Lemons had nearly 500 names on it.)

For example, former Phoenix Police Officer Richard Chrisman, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his egregious shooting of a Phoenix resident in 2010, had been caught on camera planting a crack pipe on a mentally ill woman. Former Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters, who was involved in six fatal shootings -- each of which were found to be justified by Scottsdale PD -- had to be counseled by his supervisor for being rude to citizens, and also pointed a gun at his own face, according to his file.

carmen-figueroa.jpg
Carmen Figueroa
Figueroa's file isn't as action-packed. However, in addition to years after years of positive performance reviews from her supervisors throughout her career -- most of which was spent in Tucson -- the one incident in her file is worth mentioning.

In 2009, the year before Figueroa became a detective, she and another officer were doing off-duty work for a construction company working on U.S. Route 191, about an hour and a half away from Tucson.

The construction supervisor asked the other officer -- whom Figueroa said was a "senior officer" -- how long it would take them to get home, so he knew how long to pay them. Officer Gina Radtke told the supervisor it would take them about three hours.

Figueroa didn't correct Radtke. On their way home, Figueroa called Radtke and asked her what to do, because it wasn't going to take her three hours to get home. Figueroa actually called a dispatcher when she got home (two hours later), and asked if she should clock out early, even though she would get paid for another hour. The dispatcher said just to call back in an hour to clock out.

The next morning, Figueroa reported the incident to her supervisor. She admitted that she "screwed up," and added that she felt uncomfortable questioning a senior officer.

Although it certainly seems like a complete non-scandal, especially considering Figueroa reported herself the next morning, she was suspended without pay for an entire week -- indicating that DPS took it seriously.

The rest of her file is filled with regular paperwork, her string of positive performance reviews, and a couple letters of commendation.

It seems that the state of Arizona lost a decent police officer.

According to reports, Figueroa previously worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons before being hired by DPS in 2003. According to the Los Angeles Times, Figueroa had no problems with the employment processes, in which she used a Texas birth certificate her parents gave her.

Further, it appears that the story that Figueroa had no idea she wasn't born in the United States checks out. Arizona Daily Star columnist Tim Steller reported that Figueroa passed a polygraph test to become a DPS officer, a test that specifically includes questioning whether the applicant lied or misrepresented themselves on their application.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.




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46 comments
serpico1000
serpico1000

It is sad to see a DPS  department Detective who had to resign for the Fact that she was undocumented in this Country and just because her parents gave her a birth certificate that she thought was legal, but the real let down was to hear all the negative responses from people who would have felt very safe under her care, but peoples feelings change, especially when they knew she was Undocumented, and the negative attitude for undocumented people in this Country has been so overrated and made look like Evil especially in Arizona the birthplace of anti-undocumented and Mexicans,but it all comes down to the Political views of certain Politicians who have benefited from hate innuendos, accusations, or plain vitriolic talk about this particular minority which has given to this Country nothing but the best on their jobs, but just because of the fact that the Hate Groups who even hate their Mothers hve taken the reins of the State Legislation to spread their hate, and the example of that result is in the State Economy Which has not improved since 2007 but the Politicians make it look like the problem is the Illegal immigration, and that is why this concern has made its way to Washington, and the Republicans who have held this Bastion as their main agenda.

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

The courts should have Figueroa perform community service by personally arresting and repatriating 2000 illegal aliens in Maricopa County over the next 6 months.  After that she should be awarded honorary citizenship and be returned to duty. 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Since it is illegal for a Mexican citizen to arrest an  American citizens, what happens to all of her tickets and arrests?  Seems to me that is the real question here. 


glyphhunter
glyphhunter

Sorry Carmen, the rules apply to all of us or none of us. I hope you get some kind of relief and get your job back, but not before you go through the same application process that everyone else goes through. You do not deserve special treatment just because you worked for the DPS.


robert_graham
robert_graham

I hope she has been deported. Regardless of whether she has a good record on the force, she is still an illegal alien and cannot be a cop... period. No exceptions!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Tough case.  There are hard-working people all over the world who would love to be citizens of the USA.  Should we simply declare everyone an american citizen?  Keep in mind the US (government) is already essentially bankrupt.    

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

I find it rather strange the whistleblower Figuerora gets a week off without pay and lemmons neglects to mention what happen too Radtke. Like in many of his illegal immigrant sob stories the bleeding heart writer always seems to direct the narrative towards his agenda .Also missing from this story is what repercussion's  where brought against Figuerora's parents who perpetrated the con .Her career in law enforcement seems to have been exemplary and in time once she gets right with the law maybe she can continue in that field but until then she should be made an example of ,deported with a 10 year wait to reapply for legal entery 

DNichols
DNichols

She risked her life daily for years to protect America.

Thank you Mrs. Figueroa.

Immigration Reform is Long Overdue!

Stop the Racism/Hate.

Ned Earley
Ned Earley

This officer did nothing wrong and needs to be rehired.

Carmen Aranda-Chavez
Carmen Aranda-Chavez

So, she had a perfect record what is the problem or is DPS looking for one, just because.

Jeff Ramon
Jeff Ramon

Bet she makes some good tortillas.

Phillip Robertson
Phillip Robertson

You are telling us that productive members of society have come from immigration!? Right, tell Jefferson Davis that... he what? Well then explain that to Thomas Jefferson,.... he what?.... how about Martin Luther King Jr? Oh wait,

Eric Flores
Eric Flores

wow I am for immigration reform. however this type of thing makes me think of the parent who goes into a store and hides something in the baby's diaper or stroller. using children to get away with crimes is not good parenting.

Tyburn Gallows
Tyburn Gallows

When it comes to DPS, "a near-perfect record" means "didn't get caught yet."

Jeffrey Wade
Jeffrey Wade

So who's identity/social security # was she using all this time? And no one investigated? Sounds a bit fishy to me. But IF she's completely legit, then let her stay and arrest the parents.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

It's truly an embarrassment to 'murrikans when immigrants do their jobs so much better and more efficiently than the lazy white-trash they displace from the employment market.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

John McCain was NOT a "natural born" U$ citizen.


He was born in Panama BEFORE it was incorporated U$ Territory.



Pauliejuanakraquer
Pauliejuanakraquer

Why isn't there a question about the supposed background check LE people go through? How did she get a Social Security card? Oh yes.. it was all fraudulent.

Will she get deported? She should.

dennis20
dennis20 topcommenter

This is a sad story. This women needs to be put on the fast-list. She needs to be allowed to take the test and get sworn in as a citizen. There is no reason to punish her.


cassityg32
cassityg32

That's just so sad we take a good cop off the streets just because she wasn't born here (but was an az resident for 98% of her life) yet hundreds of cops with personal files full of "dings" continue to work.

tambocha
tambocha

@glyphhunter  Are you really addressing her directly?  She's almost certainly not reading this, you know.


You make the woman sound like a criminal.  Maybe because you want her to be.  Makes it easier to talk tough and give her the third degree.

robert_graham
robert_graham

@fishingblues  No there is nothing tough about it. She is an illegal alien and illegal aliens cannot be cops. There will be an investigation into why she was allowed to slip through the cracks.  Now that she is no longer a cop, the job will be given to a US citizen.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@Pauliejuanakraquer I hope to heaven she doesn't.  By all accounts was a good cop.  


Paulie, should you be held accountable for the sins of your father?

DNichols
DNichols

@Dennius20

"America is great because it is good, when it ceases to be good, it ceases to be great."

Alex De Tocqueville

The I.C.E. Hitler Esque Deportation/Incarceration Programs began in January 2008 surprisingly at the exact same time as the "Great Recession", and a new wave of Racism/Hatred accross America.

Bigots, and Hate groups have flourished.

Immigration Reform would have been better in 2008 for our Great Nation of Immigrants.

I think Mrs. Figueroa has proven herself to be a American by risking her life as a D.P.S. Officer for years.

"Let he who is with out sin cast the first stone."

J.C.

To: Good.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@robert_graham so what exactly do you find so wrong with her earning her place here by being a cop Robert? she is doing a job that can be dangerous and is doing it to protect us. i am against illegal immigration, but if she wants to put her life on the line to serve us, thats damn admirable. it would be the same as joining the service. they are potentially putting themselves in harms way to earn their keep as a citizen..............................they are willing to take a bullet so a US citizen doesnt have to. in my book that makes her more American than you

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@robert_graham @fishingblues   Dude, you had better stick to arguing with all of the illegals that post on the over-abundance of uncle Joe articles.  

I'm making a big assumption when I think it may well have been her pop that secured the ss card and other illegal documents.  That is why I say (potentially) "tough case".

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@whateveryousay@Pauliejuanakraquer 

It's not that simple.  If the police find that the jewelry you inherited from your father was stolen, should you be allowed to keep it?  In a sense, her citizenship was stolen for her by her parents, so she shouldn't be allowed to simply keep it.  She certainly seems to have earned special consideration, however.


tambocha
tambocha

@danzigsdaddy @robert_graham  She pretty much did earn her place.  She went through the whole process, passed her tests and training and had a good record.  By all accounts she was a very good officer.  It's not her fault her parents kept some secrets from her. And it's not a story that just anyone can invent so they can stay in the US.  Her story is confirmed based on what happened to her brother, who served in the US military!  He had no idea either, and innocently applied for his passport, which unleashed this chain of events.


Part of my point is that all of this seething, angry "tough" talk about hoping she's been deported already, how she doesn't deserve this or that, how she's a criminal, how she hasn't earned anything, and all of the other foaming-at-the-mouth rage I see on comment boards is largely unjustified in this woman's particular case.  

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay@valleynative 

You seem to have missed the distinction between "does not automatically have the right" and "automatically does not have the right".


Try reading again

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative "My point is that it isn't automatically assumed that she has the right to retain something that was obtained on her behalf illegally"


So the U$A has no right to retain the vast Lands obtained illegally from the Native Americans, eh?


Noted.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay@valleynative 

Yes.  My point is that it isn't automatically assumed that she has the right to retain something that was obtained on her behalf illegally.   It's also not automatic that it must be taken away.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative ... look up the legal concept of Res Judicata ... even if the initial court/government/ruling turns out to have been in error, there comes a time when the individual's right in that ruling/standing vests regardless of the initial error.


hth.



valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@whateveryousay@valleynative@Pauliejuanakraquer 

The "citizenship" was acquired illegally.  That's really all that's required for the analogy to work.

And if you think that illegals don't displace people who would like to immigrate legally, you need to think again.


whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@valleynative @whateveryousay @Pauliejuanakraquer I find that comparison a bit of a stretch.  The jewelry was stolen from someone and the citizenship was not.  The new citizen does not displace a current or future citizen.  The inherited jewelry was never his to pass on. So yes, it should be returned the rightful owner.

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