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Fired Phoenix PD whistle blower to get his job back

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Phoenix police officer, who blew the whistle on the city's inaccurate kidnapping statistics, and then was fired, is getting his job back.

Sergeant Phil Roberts, a nearly 30-year veteran of the force, reached a settlement with the City of Phoenix Thursday night, that has him returning to work this fall.

Roberts sued the city back in 2011 for retaliation, after years of accusations and investigations by Phoenix P. D., the result of what some call dirty office politics, especially after Roberts exposed the fact, through a series of memos, that the city's kidnapping statistics for 2008 were way off.

In fact, an audit found the number was actually 30 percent lower than the 358 reported.

Chief Daniel Garcia fired Roberts this past January.

David Kothe, the former V.P. and Chair of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, said the city likely agreed to settle in order to prevent embarrassing details, about misconduct within the Phoenix Police Department, from coming to light during a trial, one he said Roberts would've likely won.

"The fact he's getting his job back before they go to trial, the city must've taken a look at what was reported to them by the attorneys, and all the depositions and obviously the decision was made...hmm, we don't want this to go to trial," said Kothe.

Roberts declined requests to be interviewed.

But according to a post on his Facebook page, the sergeant will return to the Phoenix Police Department, during the first week of September.

Roberts' post reads, in part, "This had been a very arduous journey for me to say the least. I am very glad to be ‘back in the saddle again' serving the citizens of Phoenix, and working with the finest men and women I have ever had the privilege of working with."

Kothe tells CBS 5 News,"He (Roberts) had a choice in where he is going, I believe. He picked it because he knew that the staff there would not be going after him, so to speak, that they would be giving him a fair shake, and treating him with some respect and not targeting him. But, like I said, once you get above his staff, I'm not so sure."

Kothe said he's also concerned about how Roberts' ordeal might discourage others from reporting misconduct within Phoenix P. D.

"If you're going to challenge a manager on misconduct, and you saw what happened to Phil Roberts, I'm sure there could be things going on right now, today...that's wrong...and, people who've seen what happened to Phil, and they're just going to keep their mouths shut and try to survive another day," he said.

CBS 5 News reached out to the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.

But, they declined to comment on the settlement because of ongoing litigation.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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