Badge Watch Mesa Police Association by liamei12345


                                                             MArch 2008
                                                                 VOL. 13
                                                         ISSuE NuMbEr 9

Watch              Pride, Professionalism, & integrity

FrEE Patches for
All MPA Members!

results: city of
Mesa Elections

MPA’s Position
on FTO Pay


Interested in contributing
to the MPA board?
Contact a board member or
                               President’s                         let our friends and families know that these two candidates
                                                                   are in the best interest of Mesa law enforcement.
                               Message                             This April, the majority of the MPA’s Executive Board will
                                                                   be traveling to Harvard University representing Mesa
                           Congratulations to all the              in the Top 50 Police union Leadership Seminar. The
                          Arizona Police Associations              training received at this seminar is unmatched. Trends
                         endorsed candidates on their              and solutions are discussed in great detail long before
                       successful bid for the Mesa City            they reach front line Officers. The MPA also continues
                    Council! Dennis Kavanaugh, Dave                to be the trend-setting expert on issues facing our police
                   Richins and Alex Finter all ran excellent       department and city, and is valued by other associations
campaigns. Each sought and obtained the most important             around the nation.
endorsement in Mesa, that of the APA. I have spoken at
great length with each of these new councilmen about               Finally, I ask officers to take an active interest in your
the ways to improve our police department and taking               association. Your profession has greatly benefited from
care of our employees. I am excited that we are about to           the work of the MPA and it will continue to do so as long
embark on a paradigm shift in Mesa that will see many              as new Officers take interest and infuse our organization
positive changes. I look forward to working closely with           with new commitments, ideas, and vigor. Contact a board
the new council to ensure our membership’s concerns                member to find out how you can help make our department,
and interests are well represented.                                city, and state better for our families and communities.

There is still plenty of work to do! The Mayors race and           Always be safe,
District 5 positions are heading for a run-off election in
May. The APA has endorsed Scott Smith for Mayor and                Sgt. Fabian Cota
Phil Austin for District 5. It is important that every one of us   President

                                                                                      FrEE Patches to
                                                                                     All MPA Members!

                                                                                        MPA members receive
                                                                                     four patches – FOR FREE!
                                                                               The new patches are navy blue and silver, and
                                                                             have already begun showing up on the sleeves
                                                                           of Mesa police officers.

                                                                        If you had not heard, MPD’s uniform committee
                                                                        decided to change our patch and its look. Many
                                                                        officers expressed concerns that criminals could
                                                                        easily identify and target them as police.

                                                                        Officers have until March 2009 to change over to the
                                                                        new patches.

                                                                        Please contact a MPA board member on how to
                                                                        obtain a patch, or email

                                                                        FOUR patches for free! Another way MPA strives to
                                                                        take care of their membership.
                                                      results: city of
                                                      Mesa Elections

                      MPA is in-tune with candiates that are right for the
                         job and support the best interests of public safety.
  FEbruArY 11Th, 2008 PrIMArY ELEcTION - cITY OF MESA
                                     TOTAL                        ENDOrSED
  POSITION       cANDIDATE           VOTES       PErcENTAgES       bY MPA

Mayor           Scott Smith          16229           38%              X
                Rex Griswold         14198           34%
                Claudia R. Walters   11890           28%
city council:
District 1      Dave richins         3534            54%             X
                Matt Tolman          2967            46%
city council:
District 2      Alex Finter          4143            72%             X
                Manny Cortez         1591            28%
city council:
District 3      Dennis Kavanaugh 2337                60%             X
                Mark Yarbrough   1567                40%
city council:
District 4      Phillip A. Austin    2617            29%             X
                Dina Higgins         4000           44%
                Vern Mathern         2462           27%
                                                           Mesa Firefighters
                                                           YMES! on Home Rule

  QuESTION 1               VOTES            PErcENTAgES

Alternative Expenditure
Limitation (home rule)    YES- 33991          83%
                                                             esaPolice Assn.
                          NO- 7073            17%
                               city Manager Dismisses Personnel
                                 Appeals board recommendation

                                    On February 12th, 2008, Mesa’s City Manager, Christopher Brady,
                                   dismissed the Personnel Appeals Board’s recommendation and decided
                                  that allegations against Adam Biermann of conduct unbecoming a member
                                 and untruthfulness be sustained.

                              Below is a letter from the Personnel Appeals Board in regards to the Biermann
                             hearing. In summary, the board recommended the overturn of Biermann’s termination
                            on the basis that Chief Zielonka and Internal Affairs did not prove their case.

                        MPA Board Members and our Legal Team have been active in pursuit of appropriate
                       action, and feel the Personnel Appeals Board were correct in their decision. MPA is
                      pursing this further, as faith in our city’s policies and procedures continue to diminish.
                     This case is a prime example of the lack of due process in our current personnel rules.

                                                                                            January 8, 2008
TO: Christopher J. Brady, City Manager

FROM: Joe Cayer, Personnel Appeals Board

RE: Appeals Board Hearing - Adam Biermann

On behalf of the Personnel Appeals Board, thank you for asking for our reasoning behind our advisory
opinion on the appeal by Adam Biermann of his termination.

The charges against Adam Biermann were that he violated the following policy:

ADM 530 - Conduct Unbecoming a Member
ADM 530 - Untruthfulness

Three members of the Appeals Board (Joe Cayer, Debbie Ardolino, and Donna Kohlhase) heard the appeal
and reviewed the written evidence presented. The advisory opinion was based on consideration of the writ-
ten evidence and the testimony presented at the hearing.

The Appeals Board felt that the charge of Conduct Unbecoming A Member was not clearly established
by the evidence and thus could not be sustained. Since that charge could not be sustained, the charge of
Untruthfulness could not be sustained as it relied on accepting the first charge.

The evidence on Conduct Unbecoming a Member was based on circumstantial evidence except for the
statement of the individual who raised the issue with the department (the department was reluctant to say
it was a complaint). This person was a known prostitute Biermann was charged with visiting in her motel
room. The prostitute asked another person about a detective who was similar in description to Biermann.
She described the vehicle he drove. Her description had details significantly different from the vehicle
Biermann was presumed to be driving. She told of being stopped on the street by the detective. She said
she gave the detective her motel room number and that he later visited her room and had sexual intercourse
with her. This information led to the internal investigation of Biermann and the subsequent charges and
termination. The Board was concerned that no effort was made to establish the credibility of the prostitute.

Of more concern, the circumstantial evidence became hard fact in the report of Assistant Chief Zielonka
when he made his recommendation. His report stated without reservation that the vehicle Adam Biermann
was driving was seen pulling into a parking space at the motel in question and that Biermann exited the
vehicle and then entered the motel room of the prostitute. The evidence from the investigation did not
support any of these as given facts. This evidence came from a security video camera at a Walmart store
across the street from the parking lot. The investigation indicated that a “white” SUV entered the parking
lot of the motel in question and even the color of the vehicle was in question. The circumstantial evidence
to say it was the vehicle driven by Biermann came primarily from a forensic specialist on photographs/
film who examined the Walmart video. The forensic specialist’s report stated that there were 10 points of
similarity with a Jeep Cherokee, which Biermann was thought to be driving. From that evidence, Chief
Zielonka stated without reservation that the vehicle in the motel parking lot was a Jeep Cherokee. When
asked about standards for such a forensic examination, Chief Zielonka indicated that he was unaware of
any such standards. Thus, there was no basis on which to conclude that the vehicle in the picture was a
Jeep Cherokee. It seems very probable that many SUV’s would have 10 points of similarity. The forensic
specialist made no conclusion about whether it was a Jeep Cherokee and offered no criteria by which to
judge the 10 points of similarity. Are 10 enough? Or are 20 required? In comparing the blurry photos of the
vehicle and a Jeep Cherokee, it also took a stretch of the imagination to think that the markings along the
side and the door handles matched those on the Jeep Cherokee. These issues did not bother Chief Zielonka
as he stated with no qualification that it was a Jeep Cherokee.

The evidence in the record was that a person could not be seen exiting the vehicle in question in the Wal-
mart video. The evidence was that a person was seen walking from the vicinity of the vehicle in question.
The evidence indicated that it could not be determined if the person were a man or a woman. The same
was true of the person entering and exiting the motel room. Nonetheless, Chief Zielonka stated without
reservation that the person was Adam Biermann.

The evidence and Chief Zielonka’s testimony raised questions for the Board about whether Chief Zielonka
seriously considered the evidence in the record.

The Board was also troubled by Chief Zielonka’s dismissal of any explanation presented by Adam Bier-
mann who denied the charges. Biermann’s explanation did require leaps of faith as well, but it seemed
clear that there was no effort on Chief Zielonka’s part to even address any of it. Biermann’s explanation
was that he could not remember for sure what he did after getting off work on that evening. He suggested
that he may have stopped at a store or two on his way home looking for a video game or equipment or that
he may have stopped to get a soft drink. Eventually, he provided a receipt from a restaurant/bar in Tempe
for the night in question. He also offered video from his home security cameras for the night in question to
verify the time of his arrival at home. The only evidence that seemed to be considered was the receipt and
it was dismissed derisively as coming from a “Hooka” bar and that Biermann knew one of the owners who
also showed up at Biermann’s home. According to Biermann, the individual was concerned that the police
were doing some kind of surveillance at the establishment because they questioned him and other employ-
ees and it bothered him. These explanations by Biermann leave a lot to be desired, but the evidence against
him was not convincing either. The department’s circumstantial evidence was used to develop a time line
that fit their speculation about what happened. The only piece of hard evidence, the receipt provided by
Biermann, fit the time line as well as the departmental evidence.

Compounding the problem was the testimony of Chief Gascon who made the final decision. He indicated
that he made his decision based on a conversation with Chief Zielonka. He stated in testimony that he did
not read either Zielonka’s report or the investigative record before making his decision.

The Appeals Board recognizes that an advisory opinion to overturn a termination, especially one involving
the charges in this case against a member of the Police Department, is a serious matter. The Board does
not take it lightly. However, when making a decision regarding termination, the appointing authorities also
have a responsibility to take it seriously. It appears that the Department Command did not do so in this

We hope this helps you in your decision.
 MPA Statement on
 Immigration Enforcement
The Mesa Police Association (MPA) acknowledges
and supports our voter’s decision and federal
laws of immigration enforcement; however, we
are in need of additional resources to provide the
necessary protective services to the growing Mesa
community. We are currently operating with a shortage
of 300+ police officers and no training from ICE. MPA
is concerned about the tremendous legal liability and
safety issues for our Mesa police officers.

The MPA supports Mesa Police Chief George Gascón on
the continued efforts of reducing crime in the city of Mesa
by focusing on arresting repeat offenders and patrolling       The MPA’s mission is to promote the positive role of
areas where the most crimes are reported.                      Law Enforcement Professionals, and to protect and
                                                               secure rights and benefits for our members through
End results of these unfunded mandates raise concerns          effective representation with local, state, and national
for the MPA as it could cause further consequence in           governments. The organization is currently the largest
salary and budget cuts to public safety.                       association representing active Mesa Police Officers – so
                                                               it is necessary for MPA to be in the forefront of this topic.
Lastly, the MPA encourages public officials to consider
us a resource when passing legislative measures that
include mandates for police departments.

LDF Defends border Patrol Agent while Former FOP
By Dale Norris, Executive Director Official Aids in Prosecution
Arizona Police Association

A jury has failed to convict Border Patrol Agent Nick          on a law officer forced to make a split-second decision
Corbett on any of the three charges brought by Cochise         while confronted by numerous suspects and alone in a
County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer. Rheinheimer hired              remote area is not in any way on the best interest of the
former Arizona AG Grant Woods to prosecute the agent,          profession.
and Woods brought along his side kick Lee Rappelyea,
past-president of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police        According to the website for Border Patrol agents in the
and Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 2.                        Tucson area, Woods made outrageous remarks during
                                                               closing arguments. The site reports Woods stated “’officers
When examining the facts in this case, Border Patrol           on the street carry what’s called a throw-down gun’ so they
officials believed Agent Corbett was acting in self-defense    can shoot innocent people and get away with it. He then
and have taken no disciplinary action in this case. Border     went a step further and said ‘Border Patrol doesn’t need
Patrol agents frequently work alone in remote areas and        that, they just need a rock.’” (
must apprehend illegal border crossers who are entering
the country for many reasons. Many are wanted criminals,       Rheinheimer and Woods have promised to continue this
human smugglers and drug mules, and while some may             assault on Agent Corbett.
be coming for economic reasons, that does not mean they
are not desperate and dangerous.                               NOTE: The LDF provides legal representation to the 6,500
                                                               members of the Arizona Police Association (APA). Its $5
The Fraternal Order of Police has been silent on its former    million reserves allow APA members to have superior legal
official’s participation in this shameless prosecution. We     representation. If your legal plan cannot support the costs
all have the right to make a living following our careers as   of a legal defense that may rise to $500,000.00, you need
peace officers; however, being a mercenary in this war         the APA and the LDF.
Our Membership is
Our News Source!
We are encouraging all of our membership
to contribute newsworthy information. You
are the voice of Mesa Police Association,
and this is YOUR newsletter! We appreciate
your articles. Ideas for submissions could
*Personal Stories and Experiences
                                             MArch                                        of Events
*Community News                              March 18th 5:30pm - 7:30pm
*Polices and Procedures                      “Network Tonight” with Mesa Chamber of Commerce
*Memoriam Announcements                      Rigatony’s - 223 E. Brown Rd. Mesa, AZ 85201
*Celebrations (birth, graduation, wedding    To Register call Tiffany at 480-969-1307 x11
                                             March 26th 11:30am
Send information for Badge Watch to          Women’s Business Council - lunch, networking, and presentation or submit a hard copy        in self defense
to a board member or the MPA Office. We      In association with Mesa Chamber of Commerce
look forward to you contributing to YOUR     Bella Vista Active Senior Living Community
MPA Badge Watch newsletter.                  1825 West Emelita - Mesa
                                             To register - (480) 969-1307 Ext 16

                                             MPA Observes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
                                             Clinic and other public events information to follow

                                             April 4th 11:00am - 1:00pm
                                             Mesa Chamber of Commerce Awards Luncheon
                                             Mesa Marriott; 200 N. Centennial Way; Mesa, AZ 85201

                                             May 11th – 17th
                                             National Police Week
                                             (Memorial Service May 15th)
                                             National Law Enforcement Memorial, Washington, D.C.

                                             May 12th
                                             15th Annual TOP COPS Awards Ceremony
                                             Warner Theatre, Washington, D.C.

                                             May 13, 2008
                                             Legal Rights and Legislative Seminar
                                             (Focus on: Use of Deadly Force by Law Enforcement Officers)
                                             Hamilton Crown Plaza, Washington, D.C.

                                             May 17th – 19th
                                             Wisconsin Professional Police Assoication 76th Annual
                                             Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells

                                             APA Immigration Conference
                                             Phoenix, Arizona
Letter Written on MPA’s
Position on FTO Pay

                  LEAVE IT ALONE

      Dear Commander,

      The MPA’s position on specialty assignment pay as it relates to the FTO’s remains consis-
      tent with our position on maintaining the current level of benefits for officers. Over the
      years we have seen officers benefits dwindle while at the same time they are being tasked
      with additional duties and asked to take on additional assignments. The elimination of the
      Career Enhancement Program is just one example of a benefit that was lost as a means to
      help reduce costs.

      Although the MPA understands the need to make cuts to the department’s budget, reducing
      or eliminating the specialty assignment pay for FTO’s is not, in our opinion, the most ap-
      propriate method. The proper training of our newest officers is one of the highest areas for
      liability, and experienced training officers is an intricate part of ensuring we do that prop-
      erly. Obviously the FTO’s are charged with ensuring the new officers receive the proper
      training required to make them successful and productive, but they are also relied upon by
      other officers as a resource and often times by supervisors in their absence. It is for that
      reason we would find it difficult to agree that an FTO only be paid while they are actually
      training an OIT.

      There may be some room for improvement in the scheduling of assignments to ensure
      equitability in how the program is managed. Meaning simply, that some FTO’s train
      numerous OIT’s, while others may only train one or two per year, yet they are all paid the
      same. Certainly there are several factors that go into those decisions, some of which may
      be beyond the control of the program and that is understood. If a standard were set as to
      the number of OIT’s an FTO is required to train within a specific time period in order to
      continue to receive the additional compensation, the cost savings the department is seeking
      may manifest itself.

      Prior to eliminating or reducing this benefit, it seems more reasonable to improve the pro-
      cess to ensure equitability and accountability, and then evaluate those changes to see if the
      desired result is achieved.

      With regards,
      Mesa Police Association

To top