DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver Police Department has fired one female patrol officer and her married DPD boyfriend has resigned after he admitted the two had sex while they were both on duty “approximately 25-30 times” over the course of a year-and-a-half.
“Obviously the conduct was of such a nature we were deeply disturbed,” said Denver Police Commander Matt Murray, a spokesman for the department.
Stephanie Southard, a patrol officer since 2008, was ordered fired April 14 for violating three department regulations including sexual misconduct and lying about having sex on duty. Southard is appealing her firing.
Officer Nathan Sanchez resigned after he admitted sexual contact with Southard while both were on the clock. An attorney for Southard said she would have no comment.
Southard and Sanchez become the fourth and fifth officers disciplined in recent months for sexual misconduct on duty.
During an internal affairs investigation, Sanchez said he and Southard became friends through work but the friendship quickly turned sexual.
According to the internal affairs investigation obtained by CBS4, “Officer Sanchez stated that “approximately 25-30 times” he had unzipped Officer Southard’s uniform pants while they were both on duty,” and proceeded to have sexual contact. Officer Southard denied the on duty sex but said “they only held hands and hugged each other (at work).”
But Denver’s Deputy Director of Safety, Jess Vigil, ruled that Sanchez was “credible” and that he and Southard “engaged in repeated sexual contact while on duty.”
For a department grappling with delayed response times to citizen calls, explaining sexual shenanigans on duty is again left to Commander Matt Murray.
“Did it affect response times on a few calls, probably,” said Murray.
“It makes it hard for them to prevent crime, hard for them to cover officers, hard to do any part of their job right,” Murray said of the on duty sex.
He said overall department response times are not affected by a few rogue officers who aren’t doing their jobs calling it “statistically insignificant.”
But he said, ”If it affected response times to any calls… that’s not okay.”
Southard and Sanchez join a growing number of DPD personnel recently found to be focused on sexual pursuits when they were supposed to be chasing crime.
Earlier this year, Detective Craig Miner was suspended for 10 days and demoted for regularly leaving during work hours, driving a city vehicle to Federal Heights and conducting an extra- marital affair.
Miner denied he was visiting the woman to have sex. But in an interview with CBS4, the woman said Detective Miner had been regularly leaving work to visit her for four years, beginning in 2009.
“He was here for an hour. He would call it monkey business,” the woman told CBS4.
She said Denver taxpayers were essentially paying for “booty calls” every week.
“You know everyone says they need more officers on the street but if you get officers on the street to do what they should be doing they wouldn’t need more officers on the street,” she said.
Last month, Technician John White served a ten day suspension after he was found to have 589 pictures of nude and semi-nude women on his department issued cellphone. In that case, his ex-girlfriend said she and White repeatedly had sex on duty in his city vehicle, but White denied it and an internal affairs investigation could not substantiate the woman’s claims of on duty sex.
However the woman told CBS4 she and White often engaged in sexual conduct while he was on duty.
“Sometimes while driving… sometimes in the parking lot. That would happen often. Taxpayers paid him to spend a lot of time with me,” the woman said.
Also last month, Lakewood Police cited Denver Police Detective Michael Ryan for soliciting a prostitute after they say they caught him in a law enforcement vehicle with his pants down, in the company of a known prostitute.
Ryan was placed on administrative leave with pay and sent home.
“We have a handful of officers who have done things that are inappropriate and they’ve been held accountable for those actions,” said Murray.
“The best we can do is respond appropriately when we become aware of it. It’s not a lack of supervision,” said Murray, “It’s a lack of accountability and poor choices.”