An internal investigation at the Odessa Police Department led to the resignation of an OPD Sergeant, according to newly released records obtained by Local 2/Fox 24.
Sergeant Jesse Garcia resigned after Professional Standards Investigators determined he violated several police policies, according to records obtained by Local 2/Fox 24 through a Freedom of Information Acts request.
According to records, Sgt. Garcia violated several policies during two undercover investigations and became involved with a CBS 7 female reporter, back in April 2016, leading to his resignation. The violations include:
Use of Alcoholic Beverages or Other Intoxicants
Standards of Conduct of Duty
Standard Operating Procedures
Standards of Conduct-General Conduct
Use of Seat Belts
Proper Action Required
Standards of Conduct-Use of Official Position
Standards of Conduct-Orders and Discipline
The internal investigation began following an undercover prostitution operation at a massage parlor back on April 15, 2016, which was led by Sgt. Garcia, according to the records. Sgt. Garcia briefed six other officers about the operation before they were sent to the location at 4555 E. University Blvd., according to the report.
While Garcia was headed to the location, a local reporter from CBS 7 reportedly called him and questioned him about the investigation, according to the reports. Soon after, the OPD Deputy Chief contacted Garcia asking why the media was at the location, the report reads. Garcia then began questioning several of the officers at the scene about who may have tipped the media about the operation.
One OPD detective reported receiving blame for tipping off the media and later told investigators that “they started pointing fingers at him because he told the guys there on scene that he would text (the CBS 7 reporter) and tell (the CBS 7 reporter) not to put their faces on camera. (The detective) had also stated that (the CBS 7 reporter) had called him on his way up to the location but that he had only advised (the CBS 7 reporter) that he was assisting narcotics,” according to the report.
Later that night during another undercover investigation, Sgt. Garcia was at a bar in Odessa when the CBS 7 reporter had shown up and sat next to him the entire evening, according to the PSU report. The report states that Garcia and the CBS 7 reporter ran up a $120 bar tab together. It was during this time that Garcia told investigators that he was conducting an undercover investigation. The report later found that Garcia never notified supervisors that he was conducting an undercover investigation at the bar.
Garcia told PSU investigators that he did not call the CBS 7 reporter and she had just shown up at the bar and had sat next to him, according to the report. He also told investigators that he did not tell the CBS 7 reporter about his investigation, the report reads.
The Sergeant did tell PSU investigators that he and the CBS 7 reporter had several drinks together, which he paid for. However, PSU investigators reviewed the surveillance footage at the bar and said, “(it shows the CBS 7 reporter) showing up and it appears that (the CBS 7 reporter) is looking for someone and when (the CBS 7 reporter) sees Sgt. Garcia (the CBS 7 reporter) goes straight to him. During this time, (the CBS 7 reporter) did not show up with anyone else and hangs out with Sgt. Garcia the whole night. They both leave the bar together,” according to the report.
After leaving the bar, Garcia told PSU investigators that he met other undercover officers at the police department, debriefed and went home, according to the report. However, investigators later confronted Garcia with surveillance footage of him and the CBS 7 reporter inside of the building saying he “lied about this incident,” and that “she is holding his arm and looks like they are flirting with each other,” according to the report.
Garcia later admitted to the scene in the surveillance video, the report reads.
Furthermore, a statement in the reports reads:
“This investigation revealed that on 04-15-16, Sgt. Garcia is conducting an undercover operation at (the bar) and is hanging out with (the CBS 7 reporter) who had received confidential information from an unknown source here at the PD earlier in the day on another on-going investigation in reference to the… [massage parlor] …It was also revealed that Sgt. Garcia brought the (CBS 7 reporter) to the police department and took her into the narcotics office. Sgt. Garcia’s personal behavior has brought disrepute, discredit, or a state of embarrassment to the department; along with his inconsistencies and duties as a supervisor.”
No one was criminally charged in connection with this investigation, according to police records.
More details regarding this investigation will be released as more documents and information become available.