Few misconduct findings by Grand Junction police
Over 17 months ending in August, the Grand Junction Police Department handled 99 citizen complaints or investigations involving their own officers, according to records provided by the department.DOWNLOAD A LIST OF GJPD INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS.
Police employees, including 911 operators with the Grand Junction Regional Communications Center, were disciplined for confirmed misconduct in 25 cases, according to the records.
Over the same time period, the agency handled nearly 96,000 calls for service from Grand Junction residents. Interim Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said the figures — which show sustained wrongdoing in less than 1 percent of total service calls — should reassure residents in the wake of two officers arrested on suspicion of crimes against citizens.
“Those numbers tell me the vast majority of citizens are pleased with services they are getting from officers and dispatchers,” Camper said.
“We investigate every complaint we get and we’re more than willing to find misconduct if it’s warranted.”
Camper on Oct. 9 provided The Daily Sentinel with a 13-page summary of all closed internal affairs matters that resulted in discipline — as well as commendations from citizens — from Jan. 1, 2008, to Aug. 31, 2009.
The documents include summaries of allegations, the findings and discipline handed out.
Names of officers, staff and others involved in the incidents, are not included.
The documents were generated in response to a request filed by the newspaper under the Colorado Open Records Act on Sept. 28. The request asked for all reports, memoranda, notes and affidavits from all closed internal affairs matters in which violations of department policy were determined to have occurred from Jan. 1, 2008, to Aug. 31, 2009.
Among the cases that resulted in discipline:
Command staff recommended an officer be fired after a woman said she suffered back injuries when her car was rear-ended by a patrol vehicle in July 2008. The officer who was driving the patrol vehicle gave the woman a business card but did not return her subsequent phone calls. The summary does not indicate whether the officer was fired.
Officers on five occasions were determined to have violated the department’s policies for vehicle pursuits. The most recent incident occurred Aug. 19 in connection with a felony menacing incident in the Ridges, which ended with the suspect crashing a vehicle while trying to turn at the intersection of Broadway and Redlands Parkway.
In May 2008, a man complained that an officer mistakenly cited him for drunken driving. The man claimed that the officer’s portable breath test showed he was below the legal limit for driving under the influence. A supervisor’s review found the ticket shouldn’t have been issued.
“Officer did try to contact subject later in the evening and left him a message and apologized and (asked him) to come back to the police department to pick up his license,” the summary reads.
Officers over the same period GOT 38 citizen compliments:
“Officer received a hand-written note from a citizen she arrested on a vandalism case,” reads one summary. “The citizen said the arrest has changed his life and he appreciated the way he was treated.”
Another person, who apparently was pleased with how an officer handled a traffic accident, left a note and $40 in cash. The summary says the name of the citizen was illegible on the letter and the officer couldn’t track the person down. The money eventually was donated to the Grand Junction Peace Officers Association.