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Thursday, July 10, 2008

[MI] Officer Vargas charged w/stalking Officer Merritt

...MICHIGAN STATE POLICE LT. JIM SHAW, WHO COMMANDS THE JACKSON POST, WHICH HANDLED THE INVESTIGATION, SAID THE CALLS WERE "THREATENING IN NATURE." AS DEFINED IN THE MICHIGAN STATUTE, AGGRAVATED STALKING INVOLVES THREATS TO KILL ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL OR INFLICT PHYSICAL INJURY...

LANSING COP ARRESTED FOR STALKING
WKHM 970 AM : Jackson, Michigan's Talk and News Radio Station, an ABC News Affiliate
7/9/2008
AN ELEVEN YEAR VETERAN OF THE LANSING POLICE DEPARTMENT IS FACING UP TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR ALLEGEDLY STALKING JOSEPH MERRITT, AN OFFICER WITH THE BLACKMAN TOWNSHIP DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY. ACCORDING TO POLICE REPORTS MERRITT ARRESTED ROBERT VARGAS IN MAY OF 2007 FOR A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INCIDENT INVOLVING HIS GIRLFRIEND. HE WAS LATER ACQUITTED OF THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES, BUT HE WAS CONVICTED ON THE MALICIOUS USE OF A TELEPHONE CHARGE. ONCE HE COMPLETED HIS PROBATION FROM THAT CASE, IT IS ALLEGED THAT VARGAS STARTED STALKING MERRITT WITH PHONE CALLS. A COMPLAINT WAS FILED AND VARGAS TURNED HIMSELF INTO THE MICHIGAN STATE POLICE LAST WEEK. HE IS NOW FACING THE SAME CHARGES HE WAS CONVICTED OF LAST YEAR. VARGAS WAS RELEASED ON $5,000 BOND. HIS PRELIMINARY HEARING IS SCHEDULED FOR THE END OF THE MONTH. CURRENTLY VARGAS IS ON PAID LEAVE FROM THE LANSING POLICE DEPARTMENT SINCE HIS FIRST ARREST IN 2007.

POLICEMAN ACCUSED OF STALKING ANOTHER COP
Lansing officer faces felony charge in Jackson Co.
Lansing State Journal, MI
Christine Rook clrook@lsj.com
Jul 9, 2008
...Mark Blumer, chief assistant prosecutor for Jackson County, said that in April, Vargas began harassing the Blackman Township police officer who had arrested him on the previous case... "We're disappointed that we find ourselves in the position of these charges being filed," Lansing police Chief Mark Alley said Tuesday. Vargas has been on PAID administrative leave since the original incident with his former girlfriend in May 2007... Following his conviction, he had applied for duty disability pension, the chief said, and was awaiting an official ruling on both the pension and possible disciplinary action from the department. Vargas' preliminary exam on the new charges is set for July 29 before 12th District Court Judge R. Darryl Mazur in Jackson. The felony stalking charge carries a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison... The harassment charge carries a maximum of six months. In addition, a police internal affairs review is likely to go over the entire series of events and determine how it might affect Vargas' work status, said Lansing police spokesman Lt. Noel Garcia. "It has to be determined on a case-by-case basis," Garcia said. [MEANING THEY HAVE NO GUIDING POLICY.]... [Full article here]

LANSING COP FACES CHARGES OF STALKING, THREATENING OFFICER WHO ARRESTED HIM
The Jackson Citizen Patriot - MLive.com, MI
Danielle Quisenberrydquisenberry@citpat.com
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
...In September, a Jackson County jury acquitted him of domestic violence, but found him guilty of telephone harassment; he was sentenced in October to 15 months probation. Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer said Tuesday that Vargas' PROBATION WAS REDUCED TO SIX MONTHS, AND HE BEGAN CALLING MERRITT IN MID-APRIL, SHORTLY AFTER HE CAME OFF PROBATION... Michigan State Police Lt. Jim Shaw, who commands the Jackson post, which handled the investigation, said THE CALLS WERE "THREATENING IN NATURE." As defined in the Michigan statute, aggravated stalking involves threats to kill another individual or inflict physical injury... Lansing Police Chief Mark Alley said Vargas has been on paid administrative leave since he was first charged with crimes in May 2007. At that time, THE DEPARTMENT LAUNCHED AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION, BUT VARGAS HAS SINCE APPLIED FOR A DUTY DISABILITY PENSION, WHICH IS UNDER REVIEW BY THE DEPARTMENT PENSION BOARD. THE INVESTIGATION WAS PUT ON HOLD PENDING THE BOARD'S REVIEW OF HIS APPLICATION. A decision is expected this month, Alley said. If his request is granted, he will no longer be employed by the Lansing Police Department, Alley said. If the application is accepted, the investigation will resume, the chief said... [Full article here]

LANSING POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH STALKING
WLAJ.COM
July 8, 2008 - 8:18PM
...Lansing Police Chief Mark Alley said today that the Lansing Police Department does not tolerate criminal misconduct by any of its members and that allegations of wrongdoing by any member of the agency are thoroughly investigated. "We have and will continue to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards of integrity and professional conduct in law enforcement," Chief Alley said. "We will not compromise our core values and will assure that those values are applied to all our personnel on or off duty. The Lansing Police Department will maintain the integrity of our disciplinary process by following the policies, procedures and union contract, which details the disciplinary process"... [Full article here]

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