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Deputy constable still on the job, may be breaking state law

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PHOENIX (CBS5/CBS) -

He's the only deputy constable in Arizona without proper certification and training.

But that hasn't stopped Gilbert Trejo from going to work, even though it may be a violation of state law.

Trejo made no apologies when he spoke to CBS5 in November.

He said that he's not doing anything wrong by suiting up every day with his badge and gun, despite the fact state law requires proper peace officer training and certification, which Trejo does not have.

On Wednesday, Maricopa County's Board of Supervisors took things a step further,  by changing its "Constables Personal Safety Training Policy."

The amendment clarifies that a Deputy Constable must be certified by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board while employed as a Deputy Constable rather than just holding certification at the time of appointment. (C-20-14-024-6-00)

Maricopa County spokesperson Cari Gerchick said the policy change clears up any gray area.

"There was a policy in place, but to make sure everyone is very clear that deputy constables need to be AZ Post certified, today the board did adopt a policy that states a deputy constable must have that status."

So why then is Trejo still on the job?

County officials said they are in an ongoing legal dispute with Trejo and his attorney, who claim that Trejo has been a deputy constable since 2005, long before the state legislature passed a law requiring certification.

Trejo's attorney Sal Rivera sent CBS5 this statement:

"Deputy Constable Trejo is and remains in full compliance with Arizona law. Deputy Constable Trejo is fully trained and has served the County and its citizens well for many, many years. His supervising Constable fully endorses his service. The recent attacks against Deputy Constable Trejo are defamatory, baseless, and politically motivated. We are confident that Deputy Constable Trejo's rights and service will be upheld in Court. 

"We have not yet had the opportunity to fully analyze the policy change the County implemented this morning, but the fact that the County had to clarify its policies confirms that the County had internal confusion and inconsistencies regarding its policy. Deputy Constable Trejo is an ardent public servant who complies with all applicable laws and is committed to a resolution or decision that protects his civil and other rights and the needs of Maricopa County."

Maricopa County officials have not addressed what the impact of the policy change will have on Trejo's status and whether it allow the county to change Trejo's job title and get him off the street.

Trejo has been notified that if he went through the proper training and got certified, he could remain on the job.

Trejo has not indicated that he will go through the AZ Post certification.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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