Florence Official's Efforts to Yank Certification from Two Former Police Detectives Fails

Categories: Wild, Wild West

Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson

Two former detectives fired from the Florence Police Department received good news from the officials at the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training.

AZ POST, the body that certifies police officers to carry a badge and a gun, informed both police officers in February that the state board is not taking any punitive action against their police certification and "the matter is closed."

Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson have been fighting to clear their name since being terminated in December 2012. They were fired, in part, for blowing the whistle on a lieutenant they believed was compromising criminal investigations by returning evidence in those cases.

See also:
-Florence Exposed: A three-part investigative series exposing how the FPD's culture of political favoritism undermined criminal investigations and compromised public safety

Police Chief Dan Hughes, with the help of Lieutenant Terry Tryon (the same lieutenant who the detectives accused of wrongdoing), collected various allegations against the two cops and forwarded them to the town manager.

(Hughes is the former Surprise Police Chief who left his job after a majority of his officers cast a vote of no confidence in him.)

While the detectives were appealing their termination and disputing the allegations, Hughes sent notices to POST informing its board that the two had been fired and checked a box stating they had violated POST rules.

After reviewing the case, the board determined there wasn't actually anything in the complaints that called for yanking the cops' certification.

But it isn't over for the pair.

Both are pursuing legal action against the town.

Although the allegations against them were nearly identical, and found to be largely untrue or without merit, the hearing officer ordered that Hunter be reinstated but upheld Varnrobinson's termination.

Varnrobinson is now working for his old boss, Chief Robert Ingulli, at the Kearney Police Department.

Hunter and Varnrobinson are still waiting to hear from the Pinal County Attorney's Office, which is reviewing evidence in their case to determine whether they will be placed on the Law Enforcement Integrity Database. Also known as the Brady List, it's made up of police officers who've marred their integrity and is reviewed by prosecutors in criminal cases before asking police officers to testify.

We can't help but wonder whether Hughes' effort to get Hunter placed on the Brady List is his way of creating another opportunity to fire the guy -- again.

Got a tip? Send it to: Monica Alonzo.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Monica Alonzo on Twitter at @MAD_Blogger.

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The good ol' boy network is rampant in many small town governments and police departments.

Who recalls the illegal actions of the former chief and town manager in Youngtown, right here in the Valley, that was never investigated or prosecuted? There was even a website created that detailed the policy and criminal violations.


I have been following this story from the start. Let's see if I have this correct. There was a 17 year old female who claimed she had been raped by her step father. She started the interview out by asking the detectives if she would get in trouble if they found out she was lying. She went on the tell the detectives a rather dubious story they didn't believe and for that they were fired and the town has tried to get them decertified and put on the Brady List for their actions. 

However, a 15 year old cheerleader was actually raped at a desert party by at least one Florence High School football player. Lt. Terry Tryon kept the suspects out of trouble by giving the evidence away. Tryon's illegal actions ruined the case and yet no one at Florence Police Department or the Pinal County Attorney's Office is saying a word about it. Also, Tryon gave away evidence in a home invasion and again, no one is saying anything about that. Then there is the Kemp case which was thoroughly screwed up by Detective Klix with the assistance of Tryon. Are Tryon and Klix being fired, decertified and being put on the Brady List as well or do they get the "Good Ol Boy" exemption. 

Why are officials going after the two detectives for conducting an interview officials didn't agree with and are totally ignoring the poor investigation conducted by Klix and the blatant criminal activity on the part of Tryon?

I seem to be missing something here.


Thanks for keeping this story up-dated.

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