Two former city cops lose certifications

Dec. 3—In recent months, the cases of two former police officers came before the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, commonly known as AZPOST.

While one will remain as a mere footnote on the city payroll, another could cost Scottsdale dearly.

In September, Michael Lanouar entered a guilty plea and admitted to being intoxicated when he rammed his Scottsdale police vehicle into a car stopped at a red light.

Paramedics took a couple that was visiting from Florida to a nearby hospital, where the man who was driving was treated for a broken ankle.

According to the arrest report, Lanouar originally accused the other driver of causing the wreck by slamming on his brakes.

The officer who arrested Lanouar noted he was stumbling and smelled of alcohol.

A test showed Lanouar's blood alcohol concentration was 0.198% — over twice the legal limit of 0.08%.

After being demoted to detention officer while Scottsdale Police investigated the case, Lanouar resigned in March.

He accepted a probation deal to have charges reduced from aggravated assault to endangerment.

He told the court he is "self-employed as a security and weapons trainer for security officers and can meet his financial obligations."

Lanouar was deemed "a medium-low risk to re-offend" and sentenced to three years' probation and 10 days in jail — although "jail may be deleted or deferred upon (Lanouar) completing court-ordered alcohol or drug screening, counseling, education, and/or treatment program."

The former cop was also ordered not to drink alcohol for three years. His fines total nearly $2,000.

Though his criminal case is over, Lanouar's court trouble is far from over.

In October, Danny and Jessica Stites sued Lanouar and the city.

According to the complaint, on Nov. 4, 2022, "Michael Lanouar was driving eastbound through the intersection of north Pima and east Indian School Road, while under the influence of alcohol, when he rear-ended Mr. and Mrs. Stites while they were stopped for a red light."

"Mr. and Mrs. Stites were severely injured in the aforementioned accident, and were taken by ambulance to Scottsdale Osborn HonorHealth Medical Center while Mr. Lanouar was arrested under numerous felonies and misdemeanors," the suit adds.

The complaint insists the "City of Scottsdale is liable for the acts and omissions committed by ... Lanouar while in the course and scope of his employment with" the city.

The suit claims the city failed in its "duty to hire, train, and properly supervise their employees so as to provide proper education as to the laws and statutes governing driving while under the influence of any intoxicating or inebriating substance for the safety of the public."

The suit does not disclose the dollar amount the couple is seeking. Rather, the Stites' complaint asks Maricopa County Superior Court for "general damages in excess of the jurisdictional minimum of this court" and "special damages as will be proven at the time of trial."

On Nov. 14, Scottsdale's lawyers responded to Maricopa County Superior Court, saying the city "denies each and every, all and singular, of the allegations" in the Stites complaint.

The city states, "Lanouar was not acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the alleged car accident" and asks the court to dismiss the charges against Scottsdale.

Lanouar has not responded to the complaint, as of this newspaper's deadline.

Also in October, the AZPOST board unanimously voted to revoke Lanouar's peace officer certification.

During the September AZPOST meeting, Michael W. Arrata voluntarily relinquished his peace officer certification.

He was inducted as part of a group of "new Scottsdale Police officers" in April.

According to Aaron Bolin, a Scottsdale Police spokesman, Arrata after his induction was sent to a police academy.

During his training, Arrata "admitted to cheating on a test which is an integrity violation. He was also not completely truthful with the academy staff when he self-reported the cheating incident, which is a violation of academy rules."

Though the incident might sound like a trifle, Bolin stressed the severity of Arrata's actions.

"Integrity amongst law enforcement professionals is extremely important to maintain the trust of the communities they serve," Bolin said.

"Integrity violations are taken very seriously from the time recruits start the academy through the rest of their career. People can make mistakes in an often fast-paced and stressful job such as law enforcement.

"However willful and purposeful violations related to integrity cannot be tolerated."