Following an internal investigation of an employee’s work, and out of an abundance of caution, the Arizona Department of Public Safety has re-inspected 1,294 school buses for mechanical or maintenance issues.
On Tuesday, November 26, 2019, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) received a complaint alleging misuse of a department vehicle by Trooper Steve Powers. Upon receipt of this information, an internal investigation was initiated. During the course of the investigation, it was discovered Mr. Powers, who was assigned to the Department’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau, may have committed criminal violations. As a result, the investigation was transferred to the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.
The criminal investigation revealed conflicting information as to whether or not Mr. Power’s school bus inspections were conducted to the Department’s standards.
AZDPS inspects school buses on an annual basis. Due to this conflicting information and exercising an abundance of caution, the Department immediately mobilized 48 of the agency’s school bus inspectors to re-inspect all of the school buses last inspected by Mr. Powers from 2019 through February 2020. The troopers re-inspected 1,294 school buses discovering only minor violations, which were immediately corrected.
On February 20, 2020, Mr. Powers resigned from the Department in lieu of termination. Mr. Powers was employed with the agency for 18 years.
This is an ongoing criminal investigation. We will provide updates as they become available.