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2 Denver Police officers arrested in felony theft investigation

Michael and Santana Pineda are accused of billing off-duty hours to a private employer for hours not worked, Denver Police Department said.

DENVER — Denver Police Department (DPD) said two officers accused of billing off-duty hours to a private employer for hours not worked were arrested Tuesday.

Officers Michael Pineda, 50, and his son Santana Pineda, 26, were taken into custody following a felony theft investigation conducted by Internal Affairs that the department initiated, according to DPD.

DPD said the investigation began after it was discovered the officers were not present at a scheduled, non-department paid off-duty job on April 15.

Investigators received hours of surveillance video provided by the private employer and compared it to the officer's timesheets. DPD said they identified 23 shift discrepancies for Michael Pineda valued at $5,070, and 18 shift discrepancies for Santana Pineda valued at $3,751.50.

The officers began working off-duty for the business in October 2021, but video confirms their actual hours worked only went back as far as Feb. 28, 2022, according to DPD.

Credit: Denver Police Department
Michael Pineda [L] and Santana Pineda [R]

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"The Denver Police Department takes seriously any allegation of misconduct by officers, whether the complaint is initiated internally or externally, and has a robust disciplinary process which includes the Denver Department of Safety and the Office of the Independent Monitor, a civilian oversight agency," DPD said in a release. "When the evidence obtained through an Internal Affairs investigation indicates a possible law violation, such as in this case, the findings are presented to the Denver District Attorney’s Office for determination as to whether or not criminal charges are appropriate."

Michael Pineda joined the department in 2004, and Santana joined in 2019. Both are assigned to the DPD Patrol Division. They were placed on non-paid administrative leave due to the felony arrest, DPD said.

If convicted, they will no longer be eligible to work as sworn police officers in Colorado, in accordance with the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) policy.

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