KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Was An Arizona Police Officer Living In The Country Illegally?

Arizona's Department of Public Safety is investigating whether one of its own officers used a false birth certificate to take a job with the agency.

The investigation into DPS Officer Carmen Figueroa began last August. According to KVOA which broke the story, Figueroa's brother had applied for a visa and her own identity came into question during a background check.

Figueroa worked for a period of time as a spokeswoman for the agency. She was placed on administrative leave following the investigation and resigned earlier this week. 

The Department of Public Safety said Wednesday that Figueroa believed she was born in the United States and was told so by her family. A spokesman told the Associated Press that Figueroa worked for the federal Bureau of Prisons and the Pima County court in previous years. The birth certificate said she was born in Texas. 

Although DPS has said it is conducting an investigation into the matter, it's not clear whether the agency will scrutinize its own hiring practices when inspecting documents submitted by potential recruits.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.