|Officer arrest Q&A|
Yuma Police Department held a press conference to discusss the arrest of Officer Geoffrey Michael Presco for allegedly stealing more than $11,000 in cash from evidence storage during a press conference Tuesday (6-9-09).
|YPD Chief on officer arrest|
Yuma Police Chief Jerry Geier discusses the arrest of Officer Geoffrey Michael Presco for allegedly stealing more than $11,000 in cash from evidence storage during a press conference Tuesday (6-9-09).
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YPD officer of the year arrested for theft
The Yuma Police Department's Officer of the Year has been arrested for allegedly stealing nearly $11,000 in cash from evidence storage to support an addiction to prescription drugs.
Officer Geoffrey Michael Presco, who has been placed on administrative leave, was arrested Monday on suspicion of one count of theft for allegedly taking the money, which was evidence from a case he was handling.
The announcement of the arrest was made by Police Chief Jerry Geier during a news conference at 1 p.m., while Presco was making his initial appearance in Yuma Justice Court.
"I want to make it clear this type of conduct will not be tolerated here at the Yuma Police Department," Geier said. "The residents of Yuma need to know they can trust their police officers and the police department."
Geier went on to say, "All of our police officers, as well as the law enforcement from throughout the county, need to be held to a higher standard. That is what we intend to do."
In his rookie year on the force, Presco had worked the overnight shift from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., and was selected as YPD's 2008 Patrol Officer of the Year.
According to Geier, an investigation into the missing evidence began on Monday after another police department employee who was following up on the case discovered the money and evidence was missing.
Geier said the investigation revealed the Presco had checked out the evidence from storage on Feb. 23 for a supposed court proceeding, but never returned it.
"Presco seized nearly $11,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia and some clothing during an investigation in late 2008, which he placed into evidence," Geier said. "Presco was contacted and admitted he had the evidence, but that he had not returned it yet."
As part of the investigation, Geier said personnel were sent to Presco's home to retrieve the evidence, only to be given bags of evidence, but no money.
"(Presco) later confessed to spending the money to support his drug habit," Geier said.
Presco is alleged to be addicted to the prescription drug Oxycontin, which has a number of street names.
Presco was interviewed and later booked into the Yuma County Adult Detention Facility and is facing a single felony charge of theft.
Geier said the police department is reviewing its evidence procedure and every case Presco has been involved with.
"We will ensure this type of action does not happen again," Geier said.
At his initial appearance in Yuma Justice Court on Tuesday, a bond of $55,265 was set for him.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.