Two Visalia police officers in the narcotics unit are under arrest for falsifying police reports about controlled buys of narcotics that never occurred, the Tulare County district attorney said Friday.
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Officer Bryan Ferreira was charged with 38 felonies and five misdemeanors, and officer Shane Logan was charged with 22 felonies. Some of the charges were against the two of them together, while some were separate.
In all, there are 43 counts.
Both officers are 37 years old and have been on the force 13 years, and each has been named officer of the year.
They turned themselves in Friday morning, the same day arrests warrants were issued and charges filed.
Tulare police became suspicious of their activities this past spring and reported their concerns to Visalia brass. The officers were put on leave in May as soon as police got the tip, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said.
Forty criminal cases they were involved with, mostly involving drug cases and most of them pending cases, have been dismissed — and that number is expected to grow, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said.
He said he’s not aware of the department previously having to dismiss such a large number of cases due to officer misconduct.
The officers are to be arraigned at 1 p.m. Monday.
The motivation for falsifying reports is unclear. Ward said details of the investigation are not being revealed.
“We’re simply not able to talk about the facts of the investigation,” he said.
Charges also include perjury and revealing confidential records, particularly DMV records.
“The language in the complaint reflects conduct alleging that search warrants were obtained based upon controlled narcotics buys which did not occur and that the defendants wrote false police reports which were submitted as well,” Ward said at a news conference.
After Tulare police received information about the officers that raised red flags, Tulare police and the Bureau of Investigations at the DA’s office launched an investigation.
Visalia police did not participate in the investigation, Ward said.
Ferreira was still in jail on $575,000 bail as of late Friday afternoon; Logan bailed out on $275,000 bail.
Their arrests rattled the law enforcement community.
“Whenever a police officer is accused of committing these types of crimes, the ramifications reverberate throughout the criminal justice system, the entire law enforcement community, and of course throughout our entire Valley,” Ward said.
The officers are “accused of being corrupt,” he said.
Attorneys who defended clients based on the work of the two officers can ask for records from the DA’s office, he said.
The conviction review unit will look at all the cases they were involved in of late, Ward said.
The Tulare police loaned the DA’s office a full-time detective to track down the alleged illegal actions of the two officers, he said.
Salazar said whenever a fellow officer commits a crime of this nature, “I think it certainly has an effect on morale” inside the department.
“The alleged actions by these two police officers are disturbing and insulting to the honor and integrity that is associated with the badge that we wear,” Salazar said. “These alleged behaviors are entirely unacceptable and extremely disappointing. ... These are the actions of two individuals that are absolutely wrong, and we’re angry about it. We’ll deal with it.”
Both officers were assigned to the narcotics unit for a number of years, but were not working undercover when the alleged wrongdoing occurred, Salazar said.
If convicted on all counts, Ferreira faces 24 years and 8 months in prison, while Logan faces 11 years and 4 months.
Salazar said he doesn’t know why the two officers did what they are charged with doing.
“I wish I knew why,” he said. “Is it challenging, yes. Will we get through it? Absolutely we will.”