Investigation Finds Ex Somerton Police Chief Discredited Department

Jun 3, 2019

An independent investigation found that the former Somerton police chief brought discredit to the department by allowing the use of city police cars for off-duty travel to the Phoenix area, city officials announced.

Ex chief Joseph Turitto authorized officers to drive up for off-hours security work at events in and around Phoenix. City Manager Ian McGaughey requested the investigation after an anonymous email was sent to city leaders alleging the off-duty trips.

The investigation was performed by the Arizona Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, Professional Standards Unit, city officials said. It took about two months and involved interviews with 10 witnesses.

Turitto offered his resignation in March when the investigation started. He said he allowed officers to take the private security jobs because of low officer pay.

The investigation found that "as Chief of Police, Joseph Turitto's actions were found to have discredited the public service of the city of Somerton Police Department."

McGaughey said Turitto's actions were "a clear violation of the public trust."

Somerton Mayor Gerardo Anaya said the city will use the report to change police policy so that no similar actions will occur in the future.

Araceli Juarez is the acting Somerton Police Chief.