Phoenix PD Backpedals on Kidnapping Stats

PHOENIX --

The Phoenix Police Department is backpedaling on the statistics that garnered the city the unfortunate title of "Kidnapping Capital of America."

In 2008, Phoenix police reported 358 kidnappings.

That number was later criticized by people inside the department, including Sgt. Phil Roberts, who blew the whistle on what he called inflated kidnapping statistics.

CBS 5 News was the first organization to report Roberts' attempts to notify city leaders about the statistics.

When CBS 5 News pressed a police spokesperson about the numbers in August 2010, Sgt. Tommy Thompson said, "Understand this very clearly, there were 358 kidnappings in 2008."

On Monday, Thompson sent an e-mail that contradicts his previous stance.

In the e-mail, Thompson said, "The Phoenix Police Department is conducting an audit concerning kidnapping and home invasion incidents it conducts. As a result of the audit, the department has determined that there are reports that do not belong in these statistics."

Thompson also said that there are other existing reports that were not classified as kidnappings but should have been.

He declined to elaborate on the number of misclassified cases.

"They were caught short, and now they're being held accountable," said Mark Spencer, president of the union that represents Roberts.

The Office of the Inspector General launched an audit in December to determine if the Phoenix Police Department deserves the $1.7 million in federal grant money it received for its self-proclaimed kidnapping problem.

The audit is ongoing, but Thompson said, "The department is confident that the information provided in the grant application accurately depicted the magnitude of the kidnapping and home invasion problems."

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