Fort Collins police officer who was investigated for making false DUI arrests resigns
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Colorodoan - A Fort Collins police officer accused of wrongly arresting a Loveland man for driving under the influence has resigned from the department following an internal investigation.
Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said Friday that the officer, Jason Haferman, is no longer with the department, according to a video posted to the department's Facebook page.
Haferman's DUI cases came under scrutiny earlier this year after Derrick Groves, a Loveland man, said he was falsely arrested for driving under the influence by Haferman while driving home from a friend's house in April. While Haferman said in the arrest affidavit that Groves "had blood shot, glassy eyes, and his pupils appeared to be different sizes," and he did not complete the eye portion of the roadside test as a sober person would, blood test results later proved he had no drugs or alcohol in his system.
The 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office dismissed the case against Groves in June.
An internal investigation revealed at least nine DUI cases involving Haferman in less than a year with blood tests that came back with no alcohol or drugs present in the person's blood, according to police. The internal investigation thoroughly reviewed each of these cases, Swoboda said.
Fort Collins Police Services officers made 504 DUI arrests in 2021, and 11 of those cases — 2.2% — had blood test results come back with no drugs or alcohol found, spokesperson Kate Kimble previously told the Coloradoan. Haferman was involved with 191 of the DUI arrests last year, either as the primary arresting officer or supporting the DUI investigation.
Of the 11 Fort Collins police cases where blood test results came back with no alcohol or drugs detected, Haferman was involved in eight, Kimble said.
Haferman was moved from DUI enforcement to the patrol division in May, then reassigned to an administrative role with no involvement in cases in early September, Swoboda wrote in the Facebook post accompanying his video statement. In October, he was placed on administrative leave pending the results of the internal investigation.
"The results of the investigation ultimately revealed a pattern of performance that did not meet the training and standards we require for our officers," Swoboda wrote. "As a result, I lost faith in his ability to serve as a Fort Collins Police officer."
Swoboda said he had a meeting scheduled with Haferman to communicate he "no longer had confidence that this officer could perform the duties to the level that I was comfortable," but Haferman resigned before their meeting.
"This officer let our community down and that hurts, but I promise we're going to continue to work with you to be a better police department tomorrow than we are today," Swoboda said in the video. "When we're committed to transparency, it doesn't mean we only let you know when things are going great, it means when we fall short of your expectations we're also going to let you know and we're also going to hold ourselves accountable."
Groves' attorney, Matthew Haltzman, said in a statement to the Coloradoan that "sadly, the damage has already been done," and that the department "had ample opportunity to train and correct Haferman's behavior and they repeatedly failed to do that."
"FCPS and Jason Haferman have left a wake of individuals who were falsely arrested, resulting in careers that have been ruined, relationships destroyed and an erosion in the fundamental trust in the rule of law that is at the core of our justice system," Haltzman said. "... Until real changes are implemented at Fort Collins Police Services, the root of the problem remains unresolved and will continue to erode public trust."
Groves still plans to file a lawsuit against the department, according to Haltzman.