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home : quartzsite news : quartzsite news April 16, 2014

8/24/2012 1:39:00 PM
Quartzsite police chief placed on leave
By John Gutekunst
Quartzsite Times

Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert and Sgt. Fabiola Garcia were placed on administrative leave Aug. 23 pending the outcome of an investigation. In a press release, Town Manager Alex Taft said it was the town's policy not to reveal the nature of the investigation or any unproven allegations. These actions came less than one week after Gilbert issued a statement claiming an investigation report from the Arizona Department of Public Safety had exonerated him of allegations he misused federal crime databases.

Taft told the Times the actions taken Aug. 23 were not related to the earlier DPS report.

Taft said the administrative leaves were meant to facilitate a speedy investigation and were not intended as punishment. She urged the public to treat Gilbert and Garcia as innocent while the investigation is ongoing. She said Sgt. James Schultz will act as chief of police pending the return of Gilbert or the appointment of an interim chief.

"There will be no reduction in the number of patrol officers and the police department will be able to meet the needs of Quartzsite's residents while this investigation is ongoing," Taft said.

These actions came less than one week after Gilbert issued a statement claiming he had been exonerated of misusing the National Crime Information Center databases. This investigation by the DPS had been going on for more than a year.

Gilbert said the DPS report he received Aug. 13 included the "turndown" notice from the Attorney General's office, which he claimed stated there were credibility issues with witnesses and there was no reasonable likelihood of a conviction.

Gilbert claimed the report also exonerated another Quartzsite officer, Sgt. Xavier Frausto.

The investigation was instigated by then-Mayor Ed Foster. In his statement, Gilbert said Foster had instigated three investigations of him, and he had been exonerated each time.

Gilbert said Foster and others made accusations against him in an effort to discredit both the department and him personally. He said the investigation of misusing the federal databases had taken 14 months, had cost the taxpayers a lot of money, and had found no evidence of wrongdoing.

A request from the Parker Pioneer to the DPS for a copy of the report is pending.

Related Stories:
• Quartzsite Police Chief not terminated

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Article comment by: Amy James

The town council incurred tremendous debt. So guess who's stuck paying for it, the people of Quartzsite. For example, some of the debt is related to attorney fees incurrred to keep the newly elected council people out, turns out they wasted $1,000's of the town's money. We are seeing rising taxation just to pay for their silly suits that they lost trying to keep the others from interfering with their coverups. That's the bad faction. The other faction has been fighting for "justice for the people". Surprises me that some in Quartzsite don't see that...

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Article comment by: Lamont Cranston

What a mess. Bring back Ponce as Chief and let him clean things up.

Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012
Article comment by: R Hill

I spent 2.5 years in Quartzsite, a nice place but a very troubled community on the politcal front, seems to me two factions fighting for control of government and the inevitable profits from such control! Once considered buying land in the community but due to all the turmoil and scandal with those trying to run the place like their personal kingdom, I decided not for me!

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