Bill Fogle, Republican candidate for Gila County Supervisor in District Three, was the subject of an internal investigation while he was a district commander for the Department of Public Safety in 1997. After the three-month investigation, Fogle was given the option to retire or face termination. Fogle retired but denied any wrongdoing.
DPS documents obtained by the Roundup said that while serving as a lieutenant overseeing DPS District 11 -- which encompasses Payson, Globe and Safford -- Fogle was working on his own private construction projects while on duty and using his patrol vehicle to take supplies to his work sites. The salary of a commander at that time was between $63,000 and $69,000 a year.
"There was an internal affairs investigation conducted back in 1997 and 1998," DPS Spokesman Frank Valenzuela said. "The findings of that investigation were that five allegations were sustained."
According to Fogle's personnel records, DPS found that he had participated in conduct adverse to the department, inefficiency, misuse or unauthorized use of state property, failure to comply with a written directive, and falsifying documents.
"Mr. Fogle was allowed to retire in lieu of termination and did so on March 10, 1998," Valenzuela said.
Fogle denies any misconduct during his three years as district commander and said he was unfairly targeted by those in upper management at DPS.
"I was retiring anyway," Fogle said. "I didn't fit their mold as a manager because I have a brain, I think on my own, I am intelligent and I am a leader and I didn't sit on my butt behind a desk all day."
The investigation arose out of a complaint by a retired DPS officer in November 1997, who was building a home near one of Fogle's three work sites in Globe.
The complaint stated that Fogle was building residences without a contractor's license and working on them while on duty with DPS.
DPS Lt. Jeff Stanhope was a sergeant assigned to the Internal Affairs division in 1997. He took the initial complaint and investigated Fogle.
"I was one of the investigators," Stanhope told the Roundup. "We collected the facts and put the report together."
On Nov. 23, 1997, documents show that DPS investigators had received permission to mount a surveillance camera at a Globe elementary school near Fogle's house. They recorded and documented his activities for 51 days. A log was compiled by agency investigators that described Fogle's activities, times he checked in for duty on the radio, the number of hours he was at the district office in Claypool and how many hours his truck was in use. The data was collected from November through Jan. 12, 1998.
Investigators interviewed Fogle at length about his work habits and his construction jobs. At that time, Fogle said he did not know he had been taped.
On audio tape, Fogle told investigators that he worked at least 40 hours a week for DPS, spending at least 15 of those hours at the district office.
"I work every holiday and there's rarely a weekend that goes by that I don't do some DPS work," Fogle said during an interview with investigators Jan. 24, 1998. "I don't take time off and go anywhere. I rarely leave my district."
The surveillance tapes and radio logs raised questions about Fogle's assertion that he was working at least 40 hours a week for DPS. Documents obtained by the Roundup, which describe Fogle's activity in the surveillance period, show one entire week in which Fogle worked no hours for DPS, had no radio contact, and took no reported days off. DPS logs show that out of 51 days, 24 days show no work-related activities and no radio communication.
According to the log, Fogle was seen at the Claypool office a total of 24.2 hours in the 51 days and did not work any weekends during the span of time he was being monitored.
"It's interesting that they were looking at Thanksgiving through the holidays," Fogle said. "I didn't go anywhere and was always available to take calls which is much more than the average DPS commanders do during the holidays. That was the same year I forfeited 240 hours of vacation time."
Yet, surveillance shows Fogle checking in for duty by radio and then traveling to Phoenix in his patrol vehicle to have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with his girlfriend's mother, checking off-duty after he returned to Globe.
Investigators queried Fogle on how often he got out to outlying areas such as Payson to have contact with officers under his command.
"I try to see them at least once a week," Fogle told investigators. "I get to Tonto Basin at least once a week and Payson every two weeks. I was in Safford on Dec. 27."
DPS surveillance logs show Fogle going to Payson twice, but no record of traveling to Tonto Basin or Safford during the 51 days.
Fogle also was questioned about whether he used his patrol vehicle to transport building supplies and other personal items, as well as going to his construction site next door to his residence and working while on duty with DPS.
When Fogle was confronted with the video tapes which show him loading and unloading different items 30 times during the surveillance period, he told DPS investigators he could not identify what the items were.
Cameras show him walking to his work site on six different occasions during his work day or after checking on-duty.
"I didn't leave my community. I was at every major accident or snowstorm -- I was out there doing things," Fogle said. "What I did was no different than what other command-level people at DPS were doing. I got the job done and did it very well. I served honorably for DPS for 25 years. I saved a lot of lives."
Fogle said when he was told investigators were going to recommend termination, he retired.
"You have to be employed in order to retire from DPS," Fogle said. "If I had said go ahead and fire me and we'll have this out in a hearing -- I would have thrown away my whole retirement. They pretty much have a good twist on you to make you do what they want you to do."
Service to Gila County
In 2001, Gila County Sheriff John Armer appointed Fogle to the position of chief deputy of the sheriff's office. "When I took the job, I had to recertify (as a peace officer) because I changed organizations," Fogle said. "(The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, or POST) required the sheriff's office to do a complete background check. I took a polygraph and answered every question they had about DPS. I passed because I never did anything wrong and they knew it."
Fogle was chief deputy for more than three years until he resigned to run for county supervisor.
Armer, who was the Globe police chief in 1997, said he was aware of the DPS investigation, but never talked to anyone at the agency about it when he decided to hire Fogle.
Valenzuela said DPS could have encouraged POST not to recertify Fogle as a peace officer, but there were legal issues involved.
"I knew about the issue of checking on the air and going and working his construction business, but I also knew Fogle was capable of doing good work," Armer said.
Armer said he tried to monitor how often Fogle was working construction because it had become a problem.
"On average, he probably worked (the job of chief deputy) a little less than 40 hours a week," Armer said. "I was looking for competent people to help me run this office and I thought he was the one, but I was disappointed in his performance with me. Now that he's gone, a lot of things have surfaced."
Armer would not elaborate.
"You have to understand that I am a business man," Fogle said. "I had a business going when Armer hired me and I had worked stacked up for a year. The sheriff's office is in a much better state than it was three and a half years ago and that's my doing because I added the leadership and direction."
Fogle said he is tired of being the No. 2 in command and he believes he will be the "best county supervisor Gila County ever saw."
"I am not just a politician," Fogle said. "I am a builder, a business man, a Marine. I know a lot more about law enforcement than any of the other candidates. I can do 100 different things at the same time -- and do them all well."
Fogle said is willing to talk about the investigation with anyone and can be contacted by phone at (928) 701-2697 or (928) 425-0803.