New details emerge about fired TPD officer

Source: Google Plus. Ben Gaballa pictured in his Marine uniform.
Source: Google Plus. Ben Gaballa pictured in his Marine uniform.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Tucson Police Officer is shown the door and he's just the latest in a string of 25 officers who were either fired or chose to resign in the last 5 years.

Chief Roberto Villasenor says it costs about a hundred thousand dollars to train an officer the first year. His department loses an average of five officers a year from disciplinary action. So, that adds up to roughly a half a million of your tax dollars each year.

He not only served our city but our country. The promising young officer was fired Thursday after allegedly falsifying a police report, misrepresenting facts to his supervisor and mishandling evidence. Gaballa tells Tucson News Now the allegations are for sexual misconduct with a woman he had taken to jail but police say his statements about his whereabouts didn't match up with his GPS.

Reporter Matt Mendes caught up with Gaballa at his Northwest side home. Matt said, "Did you have a relationship with her? Or any type of sexual..." Gaballa responded, "No. No sir, not at all." Matt said, "So, what is she saying?" Gaballa replied, "I don't know what she's saying. I don't want to say anything else until it's over." Matt said, "But, there was no sexual activity that took place?" Gaballa: "None at all."

Gaballa is just one of 25 officers in the last five years who either got fired or resigned in lieu of termination. The most recent firing before Gaballa was Kyle McKartin. Police say he was off duty when he walked into a convenience store, apparently drunk and pointed a handgun at the clerk. It was all caught on camera.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said, "With this type of job and with this type of intense scrutiny we put them under you really sometimes don't know until you have them out there on the streets. That's why we extended our probation period from one year to 18 months."

Villasenor says his officers go through extensive background checks to see if they're fit for the job. Despite so many terminations, Chief Villasenor says their actions don't reflect the rest of the department.

"It's embarrassing. We'd prefer not to. We firmly believe in the public's right to know what's being done with their tax dollars," said Villasenor.

No criminal charges have been filed against Gaballa as of right now. But, the investigation is ongoing.

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