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Cops Disciplined For Chasing Pokémon Go Characters On Duty

By Brian Maass

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) - A CBS4 Investigation has learned two Commerce City Police field training officers have been suspended from training recruits after the FTOs were discovered taking recruits on Pokémon Go hunts on-duty instead of doing actual police work.

Police sources tell CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass the two field training officers had their authority revoked late last week after their recruits confessed to the on-duty Pokémon pursuit.

Julia Emko, a spokesperson for Commerce City, told Maass, "Commerce City places the highest value on protecting the public and upholding the trust of the people we serve. We hold our officers to the highest standard and expect unquestionable integrity."

The officers were caught by one of their supervisors in unusual places and it was quickly determined they were chasing cartoon characters, not criminals.

Emko said, "When supervisors discovered this performance issue, it was immediately addressed; the officers' training duties were removed and these duties have yet to be restored. The city takes reports of misconduct very seriously and investigates such claims, taking decisive action when appropriate."

Sources say police recruits quickly confessed their superior officers were not training them in actual police work but were pursuing Pokémon Go characters.

Being stripped of FTO status means a loss of pay for the officers involved.

The wildly popular Pokémon Go game has players travel around using their smartphone to attempt to capture Pokémon creatures using the camera on their phone and GPS mapping. When a player captures one of the Pokémon characters, they add it to their collection.

News of the on-duty Pokémon hunts comes just after the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to review the troubled department after a series of officer misconduct incidents. The DOJ agreed to the review, which came at the request of the Commerce City Police Department which said it was concerned about multiple incidents of officer misconduct.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

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