Arlington officers on leave for possible fake traffic stops

Fifteen Arlington police officers are on administrative leave with pay while the Arlington Police Department investigates the accuracy of reported traffic stops.

Arlington police said they uncovered suspicious reporting of traffic stops during routine supervisory audits of their officers. The audits found that several officers reported traffic stops that never actually occurred. The alleged stops all happened in the past 90 days.

The department’s findings suggest that the officers did not contact any citizens or issue any tickets during their alleged traffic stops.

"These allegations are serious and represent conduct that is not consistent with departmental expectations," Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said in a statement. “I expect Arlington officers to perform their duties with the highest degree of personal integrity. We will investigate these allegations to determine the facts of this case.”

The Tarrant County District Attorney will determine if the officers will be charged. The officers’ identities have not been released.

Sources told FOX4 the investigation began with one officer whose reports were seldom, if ever, accompanied by supporting dash cam video. Another sign was the same license plate number appearing in multiple reports.

All but one of the accused officers belongs to the Arlington Municipal Patrolman's Association, sources said. The association declined to comment on the situation.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, briefly commented on the situation.

"We have complete confidence in our police department and our chief,” Williams said. “No need for me to make any statements."

Sources also said that the policy that would allow fake stops to go unnoticed has changed. Officers must tell dispatchers their location by radio. They previously could use a computer. Using a computer would make officers look busy when they were not.

The motivation behind the fake stops was performance evaluation, sources said.

Officers are required to report driver demographics, an arrest (if applicable) and any vehicle search made. That information is used in the department’s annual racial profiling report. The department said its current findings from the investigation have not hurt the annual report’s accuracy.

FOX4 asked Arlington City Council member Robert Rivera for comment. He declined comment, citing possible lawsuits as a result of the release of the news.