Tempe Police chief speaks following controversy over strip club visit by employees

TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ) -- Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir apologized to the East Valley city's taxpayers late Thursday afternoon, amidst mounting controversy over reports that a number of the city's officers went to a strip club, during a business trip in Palm Springs.

"My message to taxpayers in the City of Tempe is, 'I'm sorry'," said Chief Moir, during a news conference. "I'm sorry that our employees made a decision, as consenting that, while not illegal, not a violation of policy, if, in any way, it brings discredit on the professional work that our people do every single day to safeguard Tempe, to reduce harm and enhance trust, than I owe our community apology."

During the news conference, Chief Moir confirmed that an anonymous letter was received, alleging that some employees, while on a training trip, went to a strip club. Chief Moir said eight Tempe Police Department employees did go a training conference, and during the conference, some of the employees did indeed go to a strip club.

Chief Moir said it is not uncommon for its employees to attend training conferences, and that the employees went to the strip club, described by the Chief as a "legal establishment", during their off times, and not during the hours of the training conference.

In addition, Chief Moir said there are no allegations that anyone committed any illegal acts, or that anyone has done anything in violation of city policies.

"What we have before us is a number of things, and one of those things is that City of Tempe employees made a decision as adults, and that the optics of their decision reflects poorly on the City of Tempe," said Chief Moir. "More specifically, it reflects poorly on the police department."

Chief Moir, during the news conference, said the attendees were given per diem funds for the training conference trip, but that there is no way to determine if the funds were used at the strip club.

"In common practice in the private sector and the public sector, we look at the government website, and we determine how much an employee should receive, to provide for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and incidentals during the trip," said Chief Moir. "There's no way for us to determine if the actual money that they were given was spent there, nor do we know how much money was spent in the establishment."

Chief Moir said nothing has given rise to an internal investigation.