Data­base mis­use cited in po­lice dis­ci­pline re­ports

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Noelle Phillips

A Den­ver Po­lice Depart­ment sergeant will be sus­pended with­out pay for three days after he left his district dur­ing a pa­trol shift and mis­used a fed­eral crim­i­nal data­base in an at­tempt to find a miss­ing cell­phone.

Sgt. Joseph Ro­darte failed to obey depart­men­tal rules about us­ing the Na­tional Crime In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter data­base and pa­trolling, ac­cord­ing to a copy of his June 23 dis­ci­plinary let­ter ob­tained by The Den­ver Post.

The let­ter was one of about a dozen ob­tained by The Post in a rou­tine ex­am­i­na­tion of law en­force­ment dis­ci­plinary ac­tions. The let­ters also de­tail that an of­fi­cer will lose a va­ca­tion day for fail­ing to ac­ti­vate his body cam­era and an­other of­fi­cer will lose two va­ca­tion days for fail­ing to file a re­port.

Mis­use of the crim­i­nal data­base, which is main­tained by the FBI, has been a re­cur­ring prob­lem at the depart­ment, records show. In 2016, Den­ver’s po­lice watch­dog called for tougher penal­ties for abuse of the data­base, say­ing po­lice who mis­used power eroded pub­lic trust in the depart­ment.

Ro­darte on Jan. 18 traced his daugh­ter’s miss­ing cell­phone to the 800 block of Te­jon Street. He made 24 in­quiries into the NCIC sys­tem as he ran li­cense plate num­bers of ve­hi­cles in the park­ing lot, the dis­ci­plinary let­ter said.

While run­ning the li­cense plates, Ro­darte had left his district for three hours, 50 min­utes, the let­ter said.

“Although Sergeant Ro­darte while at the DWB fa­cil­ity mon­i­tored the ra­dio chan­nel, re­viewed re­ports and checked his work email, he was out­side his as­signed district and was ne­glect­ing other as­signed du­ties,” the let­ter said.

Of­fi­cer Pa­trick Richards, who has been a Den­ver of­fi­cer since 2006, ad­mit­ted to mak­ing a mis­take when he failed to ac­ti­vate his cam­era while in­ves­ti­gat­ing a traf­fic crash on March 21, ac­cord­ing to his dis­ci­plinary let­ter. It was the sec­ond time in 12 months that Richards was called out for fail­ing to use the cam­era.

Of­fi­cers are given an oral rep­ri­mand the first time they are caught fail­ing to ac­ti­vate their cam­eras, ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment’s op­er­a­tions man­ual.

Of­fi­cer Da­mon Mar­quez, who has been with the Den­ver Po­lice Depart­ment since 2000, failed to file an of­fi­cial re­port about an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing former Uber driver Derek Lef­fler, 31, at DIA, ac­cord­ing to his June 26 dis­ci­plinary let­ter.

Lef­fler pleaded guilty to charges of dis­turb­ing the peace after rolling his car into the leg of a park­ing at­ten­dant who was about to is­sue him a ci­ta­tion.

Mar­quez was sent to take a re­port but in­stead only en­tered the in­ci­dent on a log sheet. He later ad­mit­ted he should have filed a re­port and took re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions, the let­ter said.

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