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DPS tech who oversaw testing of pistols charged with theft, forgery

By: - May 9, 2019 2:10 pm
Todd Whittard

Todd Whittard. Photo provided by DPS.

A Department of Public Safety employee who oversaw the Firearms Unit and oversaw the lab which discovered an issue with the department’s service pistol was arrested for stealing from DPS.

Todd Whittard, 52, was arrested at his Chandler home last week after an internal audit and investigation, according to a press release from DPS.

In September of last year, DPS began a criminal investigation and audit into Whittard, who had been seen removing rifle magazines, ammunition and other firearm accessories from the crime lab’s non-evidentiary storage facility, DPS said.

Whittard would hide the items in his pockets or in a bag and on the day of his arrest he was seen with a canvas bag containing rifle magazines and ammunition. The bag was later found at Whittard’s home inside his car. During its investigation, DPS also found that Whittard had lied on his timecards, the agency said.

Whittard was booked into the 4th Avenue jail and DPS recommended charges of theft, forgery and fraudulent schemes.

Three days after his arrest, the 25-year veteran of DPS resigned from his position.

Whittard oversaw the testing of the FN pistols that had failed to fire and had fired accidentally during an incident at a Benson hospital last summer. The testing would later lead to a revelation that the striker in the pistols was built in a way that could cause them to fire out of battery.

DPS said it won’t re-examine any of Whittard’s work for the department.

“Todd has not worked directly on any case in over eight years and any case he worked prior has been adjudicated,” DPS spokesman Trooper Kameron Lee told the Arizona Mirror.

When asked if DPS was concerned about any results on any of the testing Whittard conducted on department firearms, given the charges of forgery, DPS spokesman Capt. Jesse Galvez said “there was no indication of that ever occurring.”

An investigation into Whittard is ongoing.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.