Mesa homicide detective investigated for bringing shame to department

A Mesa homicide detective is being investigated after her conduct cast shame on the police department.

The wife of a former Mesa police lieutenant has suddenly found herself accused of disgracing her own department.

Mesa police Sgt. Diana Williams confirmed to 12 News, the department initiated an internal affairs investigation against homicide detective Teresa Van Galder.

It stems from a series of 12 News investigative reports regarding her husband, Rick Van Galder who was arrested for drunk driving by Gilbert police on Feb. 12, 2016. Teresa was also in the car, drunk. The two had been golfing and admitted to drinking throughout the day and the night before in Scottsdale.

The arrest was captured on Gilbert police body cameras. Rick tried to pull the cop card and get professional courtesy, repeatedly attempting to wiggle his way out of the arrest. But Gilbert police officers and their supervisors did not cave into pressure. Teresa can be seen on the video slurring her words and fumbling around in her purse looking for her cell phone and driver's license. 

RELATED: Mesa PD’s Finest?

In fact, the arresting officer noted in his report, while trying to talk to Teresa, that he witnessed, a chewed piece of pizza fall out of her mouth and onto the seat between her legs. Gilbert police had to have the couple's car towed because Teresa was also inebriated. Her daughter picked her up from the scene of the traffic stop. Rick's blood alcohol level was .306 following a blood draw that was taken 46 minutes after he was pulled over.

In August, Rick Van Galder resigned before Mesa police could terminate his employment.

PREVIOUSLY: Disgraced Mesa lieutenant resigns before he could be fired

On July 29, Van Galder pleaded guilty to super extreme DUI and was sentenced to three consecutive days in jail among other conditions as part of the plea deal.

EARLIER: Former Mesa Lieutenant did not serve his jail sentence

But a 12 News investigation uncovered he did not fulfill his jail sentence. Scottsdale city jail detention sergeant Don Vogel sprang Van Galder from his jail cell the morning of Aug. 5 and Van Galder was put up in detention manager Jeff Landrum's office which was not even in the jail. He was also given a key card which allowed him to come and go as he pleased.

And he had a visitor: his wife. No visitors are allowed at the Scottsdale jail. In September, Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell confirmed to 12 News that Teresa Van Galder accessed Landrum's office and brought her husband food on at least two occasions. Sources also tell 12 News Teresa brought donuts for jail staff during one of those visits.

READ: Mesa PD notice of investigation on Teresa Van Galder

The notice of investigation alleges detective Teresa Van Galder brought "disrepute" to the Mesa Police Department by being the subject of several news stories related to the traffic stop as well as her conduct while at the Scottsdale jail on about Aug. 6 or 7.

It also indicates she may have been on duty, on the clock during one of those visits. It further alleges she visited her husband without permission from jail staff and that she did so while on a "call out" for the Mesa Police Department and used a city vehicle for personal business.

PREVIOUSLY: Scottsdale police commander suspended, jail staffers demoted

Scottsdale police commander Bruce Ciolli was suspended for a week without pay for his role in this matter. Detention manager Jeff Landrum was demoted to detention sergeant and detention sergeants Don Vogel and Kris Keilich were demoted to detention officers as a result of the improper preferential treatment given to Rick Van Galder. Vogel and Keilich are appealing their demotions.

What remains to be seen is if the Gilbert court and the town prosecutor will take some kind of action over Rick Van Galder's lack of confinement.

In the meantime, Sgt. Williams says Teresa Van Galder has not been placed on administrative leave and is still working in her role as homicide detective while the investigation is underway.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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