Buckeye police chief put on 5-day suspension amid misconduct allegations

Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall has been placed on a five-day suspension while the city reviews the findings of an investigation into allegations of misconduct stemming from an anonymous 2017 letter. 

A spokeswoman for the City of Buckeye confirmed Sunday Hall was ordered to serve a 40-hour work suspension in connection with the investigation. He was expected to return to work the week of Nov. 12.

She pointed to an Oct. 22 statement released on the city website that said the city was reviewing findings from an independent investigator to determine whether further investigation is needed. 

The private-investigation firm Copeland Investigation was hired in November 2017 just months after the anonymous letter from “numerous employees” within the city’s nearly 100-officer police department was received by the city manager and city council members. 

The letter, which was obtained by The Arizona Republic, contained multiple claims about senior police leaders, including that they ordered officers to falsify crime statistics in an attempt to make the city appear more appealing, inconsistently reprimanded officers who committed major policy violations and operated side businesses despite conflicts of interest.

Hall himself came under fire for operating a private security business with another senior official in charge of the department’s professional-standards unit, which handles internal and external complaints and ensuing investigations. 

“This is hands down the worst Buckeye PD has ever been, as there are horrible morale issues that result from employees being harassed, targeted by the current administration and treated differently based on who they are,” the authors wrote. 

The five-page document also alleged an officer funded an extramarital affair using department travel and training budgets. 

The five-page letter was signed by the “Anonymous Employees of the Buckeye Police Department.” 

A spokeswoman for the Buckeye Police Department declined to comment on Hall’s suspension as the matter was still being reviewed by the city.

Assistant Chief Mark Mann resigned in December 2017 after a separate investigation found Mann fostered a hostile work environment, oversaw ineptitude and spurred paralyzing feuds, according to thousands of pages of reports, departmental emails and interview transcripts obtained in response to a request from The Republic.

“The assistant chief is supposed to be the final authority before the chief himself, to be an example of fairness and impartiality,” investigators wrote. “Mark Mann failed in his duty; instead of being an example of how his people should treat each other, he stirred the pot of dissension.”

The same report also detailed Hall’s attempts to address the problems within the department. 

Mann, who served as the chief until 2014 when Hall took over, previously called the investigation “unfair and biased.” He told The Republic he was forced out because he stood up to bullying, harassment and misconduct. 

Republic reporter Jason Pohl contributed to this report. 

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