Details immerge concerning ex-Fruita cop Jared Wright
Candidate calls findings ‘outrageous, groundless, politically motivated’
By Tim Merris
Now that the internal affairs investigation of Jared Wright is public, things are looking ugly. Wright said in a statement at a press conference “The whole ordeal was over being 17 minutes late for work on June 8 and that Chief Angelo was a vindictive police chief scrounging for any grounds to end my employment.”
Wright went on to say he was being scrutinized regarding being missing from service for 45 minutes the morning of June 14. He stated he was vindicated on this issue.
Records indicate that a fellow unnamed officer filed a complaint with a supervisor that Wright was “stealing from the citizens of Fruita” by calling “in service” and being paid but his police vehicle was still in his driveway.
The internal affairs report also indicated that two other unnamed Fruita police officers stated that on seven occasions, between April and June, that Wright was scheduled to start work at 7 a.m. but his police vehicle remained in his driveway approximately 45 minutes to an hour after radioing “in service.”
When Wright was interviewed regarding the issue by Fruita Police Lt. Judy Macy he stated that “As I’ve told you before, I have a problem being late for work, yes.” The report indicated that in 2010 one officer described Wright’s tardiness as a “chronic problem.”
Wrights performance evaluations for 2010 and 2011 were mixed with positives and neutral feedback from his supervisors including an overall finding of “met minimum standards” for the job despite his tardiness.
Police Chief Mark Angelo believes that Wright was not honest in explaining his location on June 14, a day he was scheduled to testify at the Mesa County Justice Center at 8:15 a.m.. Lt. Macy wrote in the internal investigation a summary of her finding concerning the June 14 issue
“I believe Wright spent this time at home, knowing a supervisor was not on duty until 8:a.m.and would not be aware of his absence, nor question his location because he told them he was subpoenaed to court at 8:15a.m..”
Macy went on to write “He was specifically questioned about use of duty time on June 14 between 7 and 7:45 a.m., because he had not come into the department, nor put himself into service with dispatch and his supervisor did not know where he was at yet he completed his timesheet showing in service at 7 a.m.”
Wright asked Chief Angelo not to send out what is referred to as a “Brady” memo to defense attorneys in the Grand Valley fearing it would picture him as a dishonest cop. The term “Brady” comes from a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Brady v. Maryland which states prosecutors are required to notify defence attorneys if a police officer’s credibility is challenged. The memo could be used to discredit Wright as main witness in 10 active cases he participated in and could open the door for new trials of past cases he was involved in.
Wright asked Angelo to keep in within the department and if not he would challenge his dismissal thus costing the City a lot of money defending itself and would also make the city look bad. Write stated in the report to Angelo
“All I can say at this point is my attorney had a decent deal for you. I don’t wanna put the city in a bad spot and as a matter of fact, that’s why I’m here to talk to you because this is a lose, lose.” He went on to say
“This is a lose for me and this is a lose for the city of Fruita. I’m just simply offering this not for my own benefit alone. Certainly I would come out better but also for the city’s benefit.”
Angelo then told Wright he had sent the memo to District Attorney Pete Hautzinger four days earlier and stated “it’s not going to be handled as an informal thing. This is a very formal process designed around policy, not just our policy but city policy”
At a press conference, Wright told reporters that findings of dishonesty during an internal investigation headed by Angelo were “outrageous, groundless and politically motivated” and went on to call Chief Angelo a “vindictive little bureaucrat”.