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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news February 26, 2015

5/6/2013 10:28:00 PM
PVPD officers challenging disciplinary action in photo radar probe
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - A Prescott Valley police lieutenant and sergeant are challenging disciplinary action that stemmed from an outside audit that concluded they dismissed photo enforcement violations against family members.

Lt. Wayne Nelson and Sgt. Mark Postula requested a review that began April 22 to challenge any punishment they received, according to Human Resources Director Karen Smith. Both she and Administrative Sgt. Brandon Bonney declined to say what disciplinary action Nelson and Postula faced because the process is continuing.

"We have three steps to our review process," Smith said Monday afternoon. "Each step allows for 10 working days for a response. We are in the first (step)."

The first step is before the director of the department - in this case Interim Police Chief James Edelstein - Smith said. The next step will be before Town Manager Larry Tarkowski and the final step is before the town's Personnel Board, which consists of town staffers and community members.

The officers are entitled to a union representative and an attorney, Smith said, adding she does not know whether they have hired an attorney. They also may request a hearing in public before the personnel board.

Nelson and Postula remain on the payroll and are not on administrative leave, Bonney said.

Nelson and Postula are going through the process in response to an audit dated March 1 by public safety consultant John Wintersteen, the former police chief of Paradise Valley, that documented a number of cases of police dismissing photo-enforcement violations involving family members using vehicles registered to the officers.

Twenty-two cases involved family members who activated the cameras by driving at least 11 mph faster than the posted speed limit. Photo enforcement has been in effect in Prescott Valley since October 2006, and involves stationary and mobile cameras and red-light running.

Wintersteen's report states a traffic sergeant (Postula) admitted to dismissing seven violations over a four-year period that ended in February 2012 involving his wife. Nelson is Postula's supervisor.

Related Stories:
• Prescott Valley police officers disciplined for dismissing photo-enforcement violations

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Article comment by: Retired Oldster

I always thought that a judge was the only one to dismiss a charge. Guess I went to the wrong Judicial College. How about hindering prosecution as for being against the law? That dosen't count?

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Article comment by: Look at the whole picture people please

For the record... What the officers did was not illegal. Was it not a good decision...absolutly. But what Postula did was what happens with EVERY SINGLE CITATION when someone receives a ticket and is not the driver. They get dismissed because the person receiving the citation is not the person driving the car. And per state law YOUR NOT REQUIRED to nominate the driver. Should Postula had someone else dismiss the violation, yes he should have. Does he have the same rights as every other person to not nominate the driver, yes he does. And on another note....there were no policies or procedures in place on what to do when you know the person in the picture and need a dismissal. You can thank the prior Chief for that little oversite. Did Postula and Nelson make a bad decision, yes they did. Did they do anything illegal, no they did not! They did what they do for every single person out there who gets a citation and is not the driver and no one seems to complain about that when they get their own citation dismissed because they are not driving.

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Article comment by: The Rest of the Story

@ John Rollo - They did not break the law, the family member did.

I would like to point out, I did state that I believe some misconduct occurred and believe they deserve a form of punishment. My point is simply that most of us get to deal with our mistakes privately, these gentleman do not get this luxury and they certainly do not get any respect from the public when they do something right. When has anything a police officer done great in the publics eye been given as much attention as this or the IB debacle? Let me answer, NEVER. I have seen article's where officers have rescued stranded hikers or located missing children with positive outcomes and I have never seen 30+ comments below the story. Just my observation.....we love to rip apart the police.

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Article comment by: tip of the iceberg

There is more to this than just the two who got caught.

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: seriously? Really?

After reading all the articles on the IB and now the photo radar ticket fixing one has to laugh. This lends truth to the statement "keystone cops". This is our tax dollars at work? I want a refund7d364t

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ The Rest of the Story

"admitted to dismissing seven violations over a four-year period that ended in February 2012 involving his wife"

That is NOT a "mistake", that is a pattern of blatant misconduct and shows a mentality of "I am above the law and so is my family". This kind of thinking is reason for dismissal.

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: to: the rest of the story

I must have missed something because I don't get the impression everyone thinks every cop is a bad cop. Sounds like these guys are really good cops from what their friends say. That is great to hear, but it's looking like being a good cop is not what it takes to have integrity. It can just be a little mistake when anyone breaks the law. It is a little worse when someone like a sworn officer breaks their solemn oath in addition to breaking the law. It is a heck of a lot worse when an officer does both more than 7 times. I'm thinking the oath no longer means anything, if it ever did. I don't know what a union rep has to do with re-instilling trust let alone someone's honor.

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ the rest of the story

Oh god another relitive or spouse to another acrooked cop. Yes they are in the public eye and held to a higher level as they agreed to when they swore under oath. You talk about getting a warning vs a ticket as a gift. That would apply to you and other people related to crooked cops. But we are talking about radar. And you receive that via US Mail when youre 11 mph over the speed limit (i believe) and the required to pay the minimum fine of 220 (plus or minus $). I also disagree with you saying they do a lot of good and no body is asking about that. Damn, we all try to do "good" in our every day lives without compensation
as many of us do in our every day jobs. Cops probably receive more "atta boys" that are written about in the news papers than any of us common folk because they are more in the public eye. So, stop whinning and be happy you didn't have to pay your radar speeding ticket. Can't have it both ways.

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: John Rollo

So many insist these officers are good decent people. So what. As we're always told you broke the law now live with it. And as far as good decent people are concerned. How many really bad criminals have been described in the same manner before their crimes have been discovered. For instance the guy being charged with kidnapping those three girls was involved in the community and thought of as a good guy. So fire the cops involved. If they try to get away with evading tickets what else are they getting away with? Maybe a motorcycle gang for Cops. Geesh !!!

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: Lance Severson

This type of special treatment happens at every level of government. It's just the tip of the iceberg. It depends on who you know and who you are. Occassionally they get caught, but stopping this unlawful behaivor will never stop. We can only expose it whenever we can. It's human nature to take care of our own, but I certainly do not condone it.

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: The Rest of the Story

I understand that in light of recent events everyone is jumping on the "everycop is a bad cop" bandwagon. They, as human beings, obviously cannot make a mistake without the public crying for a stoning on the town square. Police Officers have discretion, they can decide to write you a ticket or let you go with a warning. I am sure some of you have been given this gift. With that being said, I believe they may have done some things wrong, and should receive punishment. But unlike us, they are in the public eye and scrutinized. If we make a mistake at work it isn't splashed all over the local paper for everyone to judge and punishment is handed down in private. I agree with the person that stated these officers have done a lot of good in their careers and no one is asking about that, only judging the thing they did wrong. It is a shame everyone is so judgemental and forgets they too, are human.

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: No I don't think so!

@ goes wayyyyy back "they DO deserve a little perk here and there , don't you think ?" No, I don't think, nor do many other people think, I suspect. You can accept crooked officials all you want, but many of us hold ourselves to higher standards than that and most certainly expect honesty from our government officials, especially those commissioned to enforce the law. When officials violate the law and the rules, then it degrades the respect for the law by the rest of society and then the entire system slips down another notch. You, sir, and your attitude are part of the problem.

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: Gary Y

One has to wonder if there is more to the story than what is being reported here? I have known both Postula and Nelson for numerous years. Both of them have frequented my business both on and off duty. They are both genuine and sincere officers. If I needed police help, they would be the first I would want to respond. Don't be so quick to judge. You have many supporters boys!

Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ Herbert Johnson

I have no idea what you are babbling about. This IS NOT the officer's choice. That is the point here. It is PHOTO RADAR, there is no CHOICE. You can't fight PHOTO RADAR, just try. The dishonest cops need to be FIRED. Nothing else, FIRED and NOW.

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Herbert Johnson

To Steven Ayres I agree with you 100% this is exactly why this town is not liked by other I used to think this was a friendly town, Not Anymore its sad how most judge to quick I've met these officers when I was in need in fact both saved my life I will never forget them. (Thank you)...

To @ Steven Ayres - get a life you are a negative person. How dare you question rights, oh yes we all have rights whether your guilty or not its called america this tells me you didn't agree with that ticket you got well guess what I have got tickets and have gotten off tickets (the officers choice) who cares.

Let's see how well the town communicates ,I have a question for everyone and please be honest.

What would you do if you driving down the street on patrol and you pull over a rental car for speeding lets say 15MPH over the posted speed limit as you approach the door you realize it's your spouse, now you are face to face what you you do please explain and why you would make that choice. (To all the smart ones out there the answer to "well what are you doing in a rental car?" Let's just say its an honest reason car in shop what ever)

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: @ Steven Ayres

They've admitted to dismissing violations involving family members. There's no bum's rush. Cops get more process than what is due to the rest of us. Why?

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Mav Rick

Fire da bums. As a retired (long ago) AHP officer I gotta wonder why Az POST has not gotten involved. Maybe they have and there has been no reporting of that step. APOST determines if an officer has comitted CUBO (conduct unbecoming an officer) and needs to have his certification as a police officer pulled. This smells as bad or worse than the IB fiasco.

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Chino Dog

Geez. Take your medicine and stop crying over being caught. No challenges or reviews should be necessary in this case. Especially with the recent "bad" light PVPD has on them right now. Simply pathetic....

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Adam L. Rowling

If I were to go down to the Prescott Valley police station and find one of these officers and give them 1 dollar to lose my ticket both me and the officer would be in major trouble. The fact that no money changed hands between the wife and husband is insignificant and the punishment should be the same as a bribe. Prosecute both the officer and the speeder.

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Rancher up north

I've never liked the stink of a dishonest cop. A coverup is a coverup and these guys don't need to be cops anymore. The sergeant's missus sounds like a big wreck waiting to happen. Give her time and hope she doesn't kill or injure anyone else in the process.

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Hearing? We don't need no stinking hearing.

They may request a public hearing before the personnel board? Can we bring some tomatoes to throw?

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

What's wrong with this picture? They won't reveal what disciplinary action was taken against the officers. The review of that unknown disciplinary action takes 3 steps. They are still fulltime employed, so whatever disciplinary action was taken didn't take them off the job. So why are they requesting a review, they're lucky they didn't get fired. One dude tossed 7 tickets of his wife lol. Was she wearing a gorilla mask or something? I mean that's a heckuva lot of speeding tickets. If she admitted to them and paid them her license would surely have been revoked because of the points. I'm afraid that this doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Not Police Officers

It is obvious that there was some degree of punishment handed to these higher ranking officers. They did not like the punishment, but must have admitted to something in order for the punishment to happen. Sorry they not officers to me, they are cheaters and liars and are bad examples to the lower ranking officers. Tampering with evidence is what we would be charged for, why are they special. Enough of the bull get rid of them. This coming from a former law enforcement officer.

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: Tired of business as usual...

What they did is referred to by AZPOST as a "Code Of Conduct Violation". THis means that the state CAN and SHOULD revoke their certifications for this illegal conduct. THIS DEPARTMENT NEEDS TO CLEAN UP. ...THe community deserves much better than it has been dealt, and what REALLY chaps me is the comment Larry Tarkowski made when Fessler tried to run and hide behind his retirement: "Chief Fessler was the best Prescott Valley Police had to offer". If this was the best, then we do NOT want to see the worst... enough is enough.

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Article comment by: GRUNDO This is an ongoing black comedy

They taint the honest police officers of P.V. Fire them and the drunk officers on Motorcycles that brawl on Whiskey Row. AND hold Skoog the Clueless responsible as it should be.

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