CCSD Police Chief Out - 8 News NOW

CCSD Police Chief Out

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Former CCSD Police Chief Filiberto Arroyo Former CCSD Police Chief Filiberto Arroyo

LAS VEGAS -- The police chief for the Clark County School District resigned today. Chief Filberto Arroyo ran the department for three years, but for the past six months he has been under intense scrutiny, prompted by I-Team reports about his role in an alleged coverup.

The school district describes Arroyo's departure as a parting of the ways, but he was fired, plain and simple. The district might have legal reasons for going to such pains to call it something else, but Arroyo was canned, and he brought it on himself with how he handled the investigation, or lack thereof, into a scandalous party that led to a tragic death, and then morphed into a coverup.

"We all know why this guy was fired and it doesn't make my clients happy that we have to pretend it was for some other reason," said attorney Marc Cook

Cook says his clients, Frank and Linda Peterson, are pleased that the school district has finally parted ways with embattled Arroyo, but think its silly to say he wasn't fired.

"If Angela Peterson was alive, this guy would still be working. He's gone because she died," said Cook.

UNLV grad student Angela Peterson was killed in a collision in late 2009 after 18-year-old Kevin Miranda blew through a red light. Miranda was dead drunk and admitted having several shots at a party hosted by school police dispatcher Rebecca Wamsley. Numerous witnesses say that more than a dozen teens were openly drinking with several school cops.

After Peterson's death, the department initiated a coverup, sources say. Physical evidence disappeared and employees, like former dispatcher Penny Higgins, were ordered by their supervisors to keep their mouths shut.

I-Team: Witness Speaks of CCSD Police Employees Drinking with Teens

Higgins and others say the coverup was approved by Arroyo, who openly scoffed at the I-Team reports, calling them fairy tales.

"Chief Arroyo pulled in everybody that was involved and assured them he was going to make this all go away, that they were all perfectly safe, and nothing would happen and he is not resigning," she said.

So much for Arroyo's prediction. He is the third chief in the department's history, and the third to leave under a cloud.

The first chief was fired in 2005 after it was discovered he was never certified to hold the job. His replacement resigned two years later while under investigation for funneling contracts to a friend. And now Arroyo is gone.

A statement from CCSD Spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson says, "The Clark County School District and Mr. Arroyo are formally parting ways. While we are required to keep the terms confidential, the public should be assured this was not a buy out situation. Acting Chief Ketsaa will remain in his position with the Superintendent's support while we conduct a nationwide search for a new police Chief. The school district is moving forward in many ways and new leadership at our police department will bring a renewed focus on protecting the safety of our students so they can learn and thrive. The District commends the hardworking CCSD PD staff for remaining focused on our mission through these changes."

I-Team reports prompted Metro Police to investigate the coverup allegations. The FBI has also been looking at the department, though employees have been reluctant to speak on the record because Arroyo's inner-circle still run the department.

Cook has filed a civil suit naming those who were at the party and supervisors allegedly involved in the coverup. He hopes Arroyo's firing will make it easier to get to the truth but vows the lawsuit will proceed.

"We weren't going away, but just us pursuing the lawsuit would not result in termination. I think he was hoping that you would go away. If you went away, he would probably still be the police chief," he said.

Coincidentally, today was the deadline for the school district to file its initial response to the Peterson's civil suit. Cook says he was told the district will be paying the legal bills for all of the employees named in the suit, even those who were named because they were present at an off-duty party.

The school district also says it was told the Metro investigation is over and no charges will be filed regarding the alleged coverup.

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