2 Tucson law enforcement officers disciplined by state certification board

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The state certification of a Tucson police officer has been revoked and the certification of a Pima County sheriff’s deputy has been suspended following investigations into two separate incidents that occurred last year, according to the archives.

On April 21, 2021, the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Council, which certifies law enforcement officers to work in the state, received a report of dismissal from the Department of sheriff regarding Deputy Michael Canizales, according to AZPOST records.

The incident in question occurred on January 10, 2021, when deputies were dispatched to the West Ruthrauff Road and North La Cholla Blvd area. after receiving reports of a possible wrong-way driver. One caller told the dispatcher that a car was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes while another caller said the driver of the vehicle appeared to have passed out, according to AZPOST records.

When a deputy arrived on the scene, he saw a dark-colored Ford Fusion in Ruthrauff’s eastbound lane facing west. As he made his way to the passenger side of the car, the driver appeared either asleep or passed out, according to AZPOST records.

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The deputy knocked on the window and announced himself several times to try to wake the driver. When Canizales opened the door, the deputy smelled a strong smell of intoxicants coming from him.

The deputy said Canizales looked confused, his eyes were watery and bloodshot and he had trouble standing. He then placed Canizales in handcuffs. He asked Canizales if he had been drinking, to which he replied “you know”, AZPOST records say.

Canizales refused to take field sobriety tests and was later taken to a sheriff’s substation to continue field sobriety tests and attempt a blood draw, according to AZPOST records. Canizales continued to refuse to submit to sobriety tests, but submitted for a blood test. The results of Canizales’ blood sample showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.286, according to AZPOST records. In Arizona, a DUI charge can be received if the blood alcohol concentration is over 0.08.

Canizales was arrested and charged on suspicion of aggravated impaired driving while under the influence in the wrong lane, according to AZPOST records.

On May 3 this year, Canizales pleaded guilty to an amended count of driving or actual physical control under the influence of alcohol. He was placed on probation for 18 months, according to AZPOST records.

Canizales retired before the internal affairs investigation, according to AZPOST records. In October, AZPOST’s board of directors suspended Canizales’ certification for two years from April 16, 2021.

Officer certification revoked

On November 22, 2021, AZPOST received a termination report from the Tucson Police Department regarding Officer Paul Lee. Lee had responded as a reserve officer to a flight call on June 23, 2021.

During the call, a TPD sergeant located a sweatshirt that possibly belonged to the suspect and Lee took pictures of it and recovered it as evidence. Officers later learned there was a woman nearby who may have been involved in the robbery and went to detain her, according to AZPOST records.

After determining that they did not need to speak to the women at the time, officers were ordered to release her. Lee then began talking to her once she was removed from the handcuffs and offered to buy her something to eat, according to AZPOST records. Although detectives were unwilling to speak to her at the time, she was still a potential suspect in a robbery that occurred earlier in the day.

Lee took the woman in his patrol car to a nearby Jack in the Box where he bought them food. Since his body-worn camera shut down due to low battery, it has never been determined what happened after or when they parted ways, according to AZPOST records. . Lee never told a supervisor that he was staying on duty later and never indicated that he took the woman in his patrol car.

A few days later, when a detective was compiling the paperwork needed to issue the theft case with the Pima County District Attorney’s office, he noticed that the photos of the sweatshirt were not in evidence and Lee did not. had not written an additional report to document his involvement in the case. . The detective also examined his body-worn camera and found the footage from the dinner, reporting it to a captain, according to AZPOST records.

A Professional Standards Office investigation also found that Lee had been dishonest about previous employment, which would have disqualified him from the hiring process, according to AZPOST records. Lee resigned from the TPD before receiving a Notice of Intent to Terminate.

In October, AZPOST’s board of directors revoked Lee’s peace officer certification.

Watch now: City Council votes on raises for Tucson Police Department staff and other city employees. Video courtesy of the City of Tucson.



Jamie Donnelly covers breaking news for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her by email at [email protected]

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