A movie about two individuals pretending to be cops brought a ton of laughs to the audience this summer.
In the real world however, impersonating an officer is a felony.
It's amazing how easy it is to find stories of individuals who have been caught impersonating an officer over the years. Jim Bailey, for example, is a 69-year-old Oak Harbor resident and funeral home worker, who was arrested just last month for impersonating a retired cop.
So what will happen in San Tan Valley to the candidate that has been impersonating a Chicago police officer since he first started running for office in 2008?
John R. Acton, stepped into the political scene in the San Tan area 8 years ago. He ran for Pinal County Recorder in 2008, Pinal County Supervisor for District 2 in 2012 and lost both races. Now he is running for District 7 Constable, which covers the Apache Junction, Gold Canyon and San Tan Valley areas.
Whether you are campaigning or interviewing for a job, you have a resume. While we would like to think that all resumes are 100% truthful, some people believe that padding a resume will help them get the job and might embellish their experience or education a bit. Maybe they report that they worked for ABC company for 20+ years, when it was really only 18 years. Maybe they embellish their job description or responsibilities to make the position seem more powerful or meaningful.
It's hard for me to imagine however that anyone would be so bold as to flat out lie about previous employment or experience. If you've never worked at Paradise Bakery, it shouldn't be on your resume that you did. If you aren't a licensed contractor, you shouldn't say you are. If you never worked in law enforcement, you shouldn't say you were a cop. While some embellishments could get you fired or question your integrity, impersonating a cop is a crime.
Over the years Acton has claimed that he worked as a Chicago cop for 26 years and eventually retired from the Chicago Police Department before relocating to San Tan Valley.
He states that he worked for the Chicago Police Department as an officer, an undercover cop and a homicide detective. He claims that he has arrested over 700 offenders and has given testimony in over 2000 court cases throughout his 26 year career. 2000 court cases sounds pretty impressive right? That is until you break that down. In order to have given testimony in that many court cases, Acton would have had to be in court the day he started with the force and every three days after that for 26 years straight. The detectives we spoke with chuckled when we shared Acton's claims with them, stating they couldn't be true. One police chief even stated, "I know of no officer ever who has testified in 2000 cases. Sounds like this person might suffer from a sociopath's form of reality." When questioned about the man in his town, Jim Bailey, impersonating a retired police office, Chief Green, of the Oak Harbor Police Dept said "We're very proud of what we do and work very hard at what we do, so to find someone who comes along and just takes that for granted and pretends to be one of us, that's upsetting."
When running against an Independent candidate this time around, Acton boasts that his law experience makes him the preferred candidate for the job. According to Acton's own website he believes he is more qualified than his opponent because he has "26 years of this exact police work, working with other police and legal departments." Even Acton's closest friends and associates will tell you that Acton was a cop in Chicago. "We all know he was a cop in Chicago," says Acton's friend and web designer, Chris Block.
At each presentation or forum over the last eight years, Acton's position at the police department seemed to change. It was as if he was being promoted every couple years. Even during his last run for Supervisor, Acton said "I haven't served since 1998 or 1995" when referencing when he retired from the Chicago Police Department and stated he was going to lose his pension when he got elected.
A few months back, during a Republican Club meeting, Acton mentioned that someone had questioned whether or not he had been a cop in Chicago. He defended his position by stating that he had 703 offenders that he arrested as a Chicago cop that would say otherwise.
On Sept 18th, SanTanValley.com spoke with the Chicago Police Department who stated verbally, that they had no record of a John R Acton ever having worked in the department. When Acton was presented with this information, he responded with "you must have the wrong Chicago". Later Acton was overheard saying that he had been a homicide detective in the Chicago "area".
Still having doubts, police departments, fraternal orders of police and police boards all across the state of Illinois were contacted. It has now been confirmed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board, that John R. Acton has never worked in any capacity, as an officer or in a civilian position, at the Chicago Police Department or in any other police department or law enforcement agency anywhere in the state of Illinois.
Acton has also claimed that he was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. Membership in the Fraternal Order of Police however requires papers proving that you are either an active duty police officer or proof of your retirement papers from the force. Since Acton was never a cop, it would make sense that he wouldn't be a member of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). This too was confirmed with the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police last week. Acton was however a paying member of the United Union of Roofers, Water Proofers & Allied Workers from 1973-1978, in Westchester, Illinois.
So what happens now?
Will San Tan Valley still elect this man to be their constable?
Does San Tan Valley want a man who has lied for years about his law enforcement experience to be given the same legal authority as our county sheriff?
It's up to the voters in San Tan Valley, Apache Junction and Gold Canyon. Early ballots start arriving in mailboxes October 9th. Who will you vote for to become responsible for law enforcement for the Justice Courts where you live? The man who has lied for years that he was a Chicago cop? Or anybody else?