A former Tucson police officer’s appeal to overturn his firing for violating the department’s policy on records checks was denied by a city review board, documents show.
On March 17, the Civil Service Commission, a citizen panel that reviews the appeals of suspended and terminated city employees, unanimously voted to uphold Randy Quinn’s termination, saying he should have known his conduct could lead to disciplinary action, according to the meeting’s legal action report.
Quinn, 32, who began working for the Tucson Police Department in 2007, was fired in December after a monthslong investigation by the department revealed he committed a felony by running “curiosity” checks through the law enforcement database.
In March 2016, a woman filed a complaint with TPD, saying Quinn was using his work computer to run records checks on people and vehicles visiting her home, according to the meeting minutes.
The woman, who is the ex-wife of University of Arizona police Sgt. Andre Lyko, said Quinn was a friend of her ex-husband and ran the checks at his request.
In August 2015, the woman moved out of the house she shared with Lyko and said she became concerned he was “stalking and harassing her and her visitors” and that Lyko told her Quinn and other officers were conducting records checks on her friends, the minutes show.
It was determined Quinn conducted a records check on a man who was a friend of the woman’s on Aug. 27, 2015, a day that Quinn was assigned to a traffic-control call for his whole shift.
Investigators obtained Quinn’s phone records, which revealed he was on a phone call with Lyko at the time he ran the other man’s license plate number.
When contacted by police, the man said his car was keyed when he was at the UA at about the same time and that Lyko’s ex-wife had said she suspected her ex-husband of being involved in the vandalism.
During an interview with police investigators, Quinn said he didn’t remember if Lyko asked him to run records checks, but “it was possible.”
After meeting with his attorney, Quinn sent a letter to investigators saying that “he engaged in the practice of observing civil traffic violations while off duty and making note of the offender’s license plate.”
Quinn said that after he arrived at work, he would run a records check on the plate to see if the vehicle was registered in his area of responsibility so that he could try to catch the driver committing a new traffic violation and conduct a stop.
Quinn said that was an attempt to make the department’s “ticket-a-day” expectations, “which he met and exceeded,” but said this technique was never successful for him.
Investigators determined the technique was considered a “curiosity check,” which is a violation of Arizona Criminal Justice Information System rules, and a felony offense.
It was determined that Quinn violated six Police Department policies, including general orders, prohibition of criminal conduct and untruthfulness.
Tucson police investigators referred the case to the Pima County Attorney’s Office for prosecution, but under a rule called the Garrity Warning, Quinn’s statements to department investigators can’t be used against him in criminal prosecution.
Citing a lack of evidence, the Pima County Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute, said Deputy County Attorney Kellie Johnson.
Lyko is still employed as a sergeant with UAPD, according to department spokeswoman, Sgt. Cindy Spasoff, who said she was unable to comment further.