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Details finally have emerged on two top resignations in the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. Although the underlying story is unfortunate, the result shows that state government ultimately did the right thing.

The Arizona Republic was able to obtain an internal affairs report detailing the situation after waiting for months. It shows how detectives had visited a Scottsdale topless bar last year under the reason of looking for violations of COVID-19 rules. A detective reportedly touched a dancer inappropriately, then was coached to alter his report. Local police at first had recommended charges against the state detective.

The owner of the club had an interesting observation when he said, “You’re shutting down strip clubs, guys, and you’re having fun doing it.”

The investigation reportedly found immediate violations of social distancing rules, and the internal affairs report questioned the need of the detectives to go into a VIP room. The deputy director, Michael Rosenberger, seemed to understand the situation well when he told internal affairs investigators that the liquor department typically shied away from undercover work in strip clubs because it “just leads to trouble.”

As the case unfolded, the Arizona Department of Public Safety did an investigation, the state detective involved resigned and ultimately the head of the liquor department and his deputy resigned. The office of Gov. Doug Ducey declined to say whether the resignations were requested but a spokesman did say their actions “showed unacceptable behavior that fell far short of our standards and expectations.”

A new head of the liquor department has not yet been named, and it is temporarily under the director of DPS.

Although the governor is not spelling out his role in the situation, it is clear that his office did what was appropriate. Such undercover work is not easy, and sometimes mistakes are made. But the governor has once again shown the importance of his job and the fact that Arizona stands apart from some states where corruption is common.

— Donovan Kramer Jr.

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