A former Tucson police lieutenant was fired earlier this year for lying about whether she had earned a degree from the UA, according to a disciplinary report released Wednesday evening.
Lt. Maria Hawke had filed an appeal to her April firing for what the department said at the time was “untruthfulness.” Late last month, Hawke’s attorney, Mike Storie, struck a deal with the city that changed Hawke’s dismissal from an outright firing to a resignation in lieu of termination.
At the time of her dismissal, police did not reveal specifics about why it terminated Hawke, who served for a time as the department’s public information officer. Now the department has released the details about what led to her termination.
According to a March disciplinary report signed by Hawke, she lied repeatedly about the level of education she had achieved, saying on various occasions she had earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Arizona in biochemistry, sociology and the classics.
In 2005, when Hawke was an officer, she included the false information when she applied for a position in the Office of Internal Affairs, which investigates reports of wrongdoing within the department.
She also listed the nonexistent degrees in her profile as a board member for the Southern Arizona Women of Law Enforcement.
The report said Hawke violated five of the department’s general orders.
Because the report was released after 5 p.m., Hawke’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Her story began to unravel in December 2012, when Hawke, by then a sergeant, was in the final stage of the promotion process to become a lieutenant. A commander contacted all those up for promotion asking about their formal education.
“The inquiry was made in order to track the future lieutenant’s compliance with the department’s policy, which requires commanders to obtain a bachelor’s degree within four years of their promotion to lieutenant.”
Hawke failed to respond to the commander’s queries. A year later, just before the December 2013 promotion ceremony, the commander pressed her about her education. Hawke told him she had three degrees but could provide no proof, such as official college transcripts or diplomas.
Even though she was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, in January an investigation was launched and it was determined that Hawke “was knowingly untruthful, both verbally and in writing,” according to the report.
Ultimately, it was concluded that: “These sustained violations are of a serious nature and involve both untruthfulness and a credibility issue at the command level in the Tucson Police Department. They are also of the nature that will have a critical adverse impact on the professional image of the department.”
Hawke still faces a hearing about the fate of her police officer’s license before the Arizona Police Officers Standards and Training Board.