Commerce City disciplines two officers for playing Pokemon instead of teaching other cops

Officers relieved of training duties
Posted at 11:37 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 01:37:35-04

They were supposed to teach other officers how to be good cops, but two trainers at Commerce City P.D. apparently decided to play Pokemon during part of the training session.

Command staff learned about what happened and took action.

The city’s public information officer, Julia Emko, told Denver7 via email: "Commerce City places the highest value on protecting the public and upholding the trust of the people we serve. We hold our officers to the highest standard and expect unquestionable integrity. When supervisors discovered this performance issue, it was immediately addressed; the officers’ training duties were removed and these duties have yet to be restored. The city takes reports of misconduct very seriously and investigates such claims, taking decisive action when appropriate."

It’s the latest black eye for a department still dealing with the turmoil of an unpopular police chief, who was "promoted" to a civilian position, and several incidents of misconduct by regular officers.

One of them, now former officer John Reinhart, was charged with three counts of unlawful sexual contact.  One victim reported that Reinhart’s inappropriate conduct occurred during her arrest.

Another officer, Kevin Lord, was charged with false reporting.  He initially told investigators that he was shot during a traffic stop.  It was later learned that he’d shot himself.

When asked how big a deal it was for training officers to play Pokemon while training other cops, Commerce City resident Aida Valenzuela said, “I think it’s a pretty big deal.”

Valenzuela’s friend, Maria Castaneda, told Denver7, “I think with all the misconduct that’s been going on with police lately, they should be putting a lot (more) emphasis on training these officers well and not slacking off.”

The Pokemon incident happened the same week that Mayor Pro Tem Rene Bullock and Interim Police Chief Lowell Richardson joined Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and U.S. Dept. of Justice COPS Chief Noble Wray in announcing a top to bottom review of CCPD.

During the news conference announcing the review last week, Bullock said city officials had heard from constituents who were not happy with some of the incidents involving police.

“They were embarrassed for Commerce City,” he said.

Mike Violette, executive director of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, said the FOP asked for the collaborative review of the department and the city agreed.

Violette said he doesn’t believe the Pokemon incident is connected in any way to the other problems the department is facing.

“This (playing Pokemon) could happen anywhere,” he said.

When asked if the case was still under investigation, Emko said, “No, they’ve dealt with it.”

She said the training officers are doing regular police work.