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Prescott Valley Police Department commander Arthur Askew
Prescott Valley Police Department commander Arthur Askew

Surveillance Catches Police Commander Stealing Drugs From Department, Resigns

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A Prescott Valley Police Department commander has resigned after surveillance video showed him stealing prescription drugs from the department’s storage vault late last year.

Officials say information was received regarding suspicious activity in the department’s property and evidence room, prompting the Chief of Police to direct that a motion activated still camera and a covert video surveillance camera be placed in the drug vault.

Video evidence showed Arthur Askew, a 20-year veteran of the department, removing prescription pills from the discard box and then leave the vault on two separate occasions.

The medication had been turned in by the public to be destroyed as the result of a department campaign to get prescription drugs off the streets.

Askew was placed on administrative leave and served with a Notice of Investigation. He resigned Jan. 2, 2015.

Chief of Police Bryan Jarrell contacted the Yavapai County Sheriff’s office to conduct a criminal review on Jan. 5. The investigation was submitted for a review of possible criminal charges on Jan. 16.

Askew has reportedly cooperated fully.

“The tragedy of this incident is that a good, honest, decent person became another victim to the power and control of addiction,” Prescott police said in a statement. “It illustrates the fact that addiction makes people do things they never would have done otherwise.”

An internal audit conducted by the department also showed no items from criminal cases were taken.

Askew celebrated 20 years with the department in 2014.

He is credited with helping develop the department’s SWAT and canine units and was promoted to commander in 2011.