Accused of misconduct in one department, law enforcement officers move on to the next one

The Mesa Police Department investigated molestation allegations but closed the case without recommending any charges.

By Uriel J. Garcia | Arizona Republic 

Former Mesa police Officer Gerald “Jerry” Salcido was accused of molesting family members in 1995. The Mesa Police Department investigated the case but closed it without recommending any charges. Still, the criminal investigation didn’t come up when he began working as a police officer and later as a sheriff’s deputy in Utah.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office didn’t find out Salcido had been a criminal suspect until 2018, when prosecutors charged him with molestation. 

In another case, the Miami, Arizona, Police Department hired Richard Mueller in 2018, not realizing that six years earlier as a Pinal County sheriff’s deputy, he’d had his state law-enforcement certification suspended following a bar fight.

Superior and Globe police departments also hired Mueller during the years after the bar fight. 

Salcido and Mueller aren’t unique. In Arizona and across the country, officers accused of misconduct seem to easily move from agency to agency with little oversight.

The USA TODAY Network gathered misconduct records from hundreds of police departments and state licensing boards in nearly every state to shed light on the profession, amassing one of the largest stores of information on police wrongdoing ever assembled.

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