ARLINGTON, Texas - A scandal involving fake traffic stops cost more than a dozen Arlington police officers their jobs and their careers.
The Tarrant County District Attorney says the officers will never work as police officers in Texas ever again.
Roughly nine months after 16 police officers were placed on leave during an investigation into fake traffic stops, all of them will avoid prosecution.
Eleven of the officers agreed to plea bargains early on and gave up their peace officer licenses to avoid indictments. Five of them were actually indicted but later took the same deal to have the indictments dismissed.
“Dane Peterson, Dace Warren, Brandon Jones and Chris McCright were indicted for tampering with a governmental record in multiple indictments,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “Chris Dockery was indicted in one multiple count indictment. All of the officers agreed to give up their TCOLE licenses, and we have dismissed the indictments against each other.”
Attorney and former police officer Pete Schulte is not involved in the case but says the outcome reflects how important an officer’s integrity is to the department.
“It probably was a very big pill for them to swallow because, in essence, it ended their law enforcement career,” he said. “So in return of them giving up their law enforcement career, I mean that’s quite a number of them — 16, they avoided the potential of becoming convicted felons if the cases had gone to trial.”
In May 2016, APD says an internal audit brought to light traffic stops that were reported but allegedly did not happen. Most of the accused officers were members of the Arlington Municipal Patrolman’s Association.
“The AMPA is disappointed with the outcome, in that we wish the officers could have continued the fight,” the union said in a statement. “But we understand the risk, and they must do what is best for their families.”
The Arlington Police Department declined to comment on camera but reiterated that none of the 16 officers are still employed with them.