TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said he's firing five employees accused of being involved with illicit massage parlors where sex was offered as a service.
The announcement on Tuesday came after an administrative investigation into the actions of 10 Tucson police employees. Allegations against two employees were unfounded, while two others resigned and one is facing additional investigation. One of the five employees being fired was a crime scene technician, while the other four were officers.
The employees still have an opportunity to appeal.
A separate criminal investigation by the state Department of Public Safety found that six officers made or attempted to make appointments at two illegal massage parlors. The Department of Public Safety's investigators recommended a misdemeanor count of solicitation for a prostitute for each officer, but the Pima County Attorney's Office is still reviewing the case and has not filed any charges.
"What saddens me the most is that this gives an image of the department that in my mind is not accurate," Villaseñor said during a news conference at department headquarters. "This truly is not reflective of the work that's conducted day by day of the officers of this department."
The Department of Public Safety investigation, obtained by The Associated Press last week through a public records request, found that one officer had been seen entering one of the businesses for his appointment and leaving 40 minutes later. Another officer communicated with one of the businesses by phone and text message dozens of times, the report shows.
The criminal investigation included two other officers and a crime scene technician who were listed as contacts with one of the businesses. One of the officers is not facing charges at all, and another was found to have a personal relationship with the owner of one of the businesses and is being investigated for possible computer tampering. The technician was not found to have made any contact with the businesses.
Others made appointments via text message, although it's not clear whether the officers actually attended their appointments. None of the officers agreed to interviews with the Department of Public Safety.