LAS VEGAS -- Investigations into scandals and cover ups have led to the removal of the chief of police for the Clark County School District.
8 News NOW has learned that Chief Phil Arroyo has been replaced, at least for the time being. The I-Team has been reporting for the past several weeks about trouble within the department. Since the I-Team started its investigation two months ago, the school district has been either unable, or unwilling, to comment about any of the various scandals swirling around the school police.
Sources within the department say Arroyo was sent home late last week after being placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of formal investigations by Metro and the FBI. The district will not comment about Arroyo's status, saying it is a personnel matter, but a spokesman did confirm that someone else -- Captain James Ketsaa -- is now the acting chief for the department.
Sources within the department say late last week, Arroyo spoke with Superintendent Dwight Jones. After the conversation with Jones, Arroyo was sent home and Ketsaa was named chief.
At the heart of the Metro investigation are questions about what happened at a drunken party hosted in 2009 by school police dispatcher Rebecca Wamsley. Numerous witnesses say several school cops drank booze with as many as 20 teenagers. One of those teens, Kevin Miranda, left the party drunk and killed college student Angela Peterson.
Current and former school police employees say a cover up was instituted, with approval from Arroyo. Witnesses were told to keep their mouths shut. Evidence was removed. After the I-Team reported on the cover up, Arroyo told his employees it would all blow over. He described the allegations as fairytales.
"My clients are tentatively encouraged. They're not looking for closure. You don't get closure when you lose a child. They know that's not in the cards for them. They want me to proceed at a civil level. They hope the state proceeds at a criminal level, and they hope the superintendent does what he needs to do to clean house in that department," Attorney Marc Cook said.
Cook represents Frank and Linda Peterson, the parents of the woman who was killed in the DUI crash. Cook has been conducting a parallel investigation, anticipating that he will file a civil complaint in court. He says he is encouraged by the news that Arroyo has been removed but says he expects to move forward regardless and that he will name, not only Arroyo but several other school police employees who participated in the cover up.
"I will be subpoenaing people under penalty of perjury, will take their deposition and their testimony at trial, and I believe those who do not want to testify, a large percentage of them will testify because the alternative is perjury to protect people who aren't worth protecting. I will get some testimony," Cook said.
Among those who could be named in Cook's complaint, along with Arroyo, are Lieutenants Roberto Morales and Brian Nebecker and internal affairs investigator Loren Johnson. Johnson and Nebecker, allegedly involved in the cover up, were also called in last week to meet with Superintendent Jones and the Metro intelligence detective, according to district sources. Metro Police confirmed that they are conducting an investigation but will not say where it stands.
At the same time, FBI agents are looking at whether another cover up was instituted. A student at Mojave High School has alleged he was beaten by school police officer Bob Mayer, who reportedly was then promoted by Arroyo.
Superintendent Jones told the I-Team weeks ago that he would not tolerate behavior like this within the school police. However, police employees say as of Monday afternoon, the word had spread through their ranks that Arroyo will be back on the job soon and that his friends in the department have nothing to worry about.