Two Aransas Pass Police Department officers have been fired following claims of misconduct and mistakes involving criminal investigations.
Robert Gonzales, once captain of the APPD Criminal Investigations Division, was asked to turn in his gun and badge; a badge he has worn for more than 21 years.
This following claims of missing evidence and shoddy criminal investigations, the details of which are laid out in a report written by Police Chief Eric Blanchard. In one instance, prosecutors were unable to seek the maximum sentence in a DWI felony case. Blanchard said that discovery exposed a much larger issue.
"I believe that there has been damage as is prevalent in that case with the DWI," Blanchard said. "Because of the course of action that has been longstanding with this department with case management, there have been many cases, I can say, that have failed to resolve with justice because we failed as a department to do what our core responsibility was."
Gonzales declined to comment.
According to the chief's report, Gonzales' mistakes also included failure to supervise his investigators. As a result, a felony theft investigation was ignored, and seven other cases stalled.
Gonzales' duties also included management of the sex offender registry. Throughout the internal investigation, it was determined through a Department of Public Safety audit that information on just 29 of the 104 sex offenders was accurate and up to date. That database has since been audited and is now up to date.
Officer Steven Anderson followed Gonzales out the door. The reason for his termination includes allegations of misconduct, some of which was revealed in text messages written by Anderson himself, and obtained in an open records request.
Blanchard said the appropriate improvements and changes are being made in the department, and the end result will lead to better officers and a stronger criminal justice system.
"Everybody within this department is really working hard in giving to this department and giving into the changes because they want those changes," Blanchard said. "I would say the vast majority of this department has been waiting for this type of a change, and I definitely believe that the community has been as well."
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