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Jul 17, 2013 8:36 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

TPD reacts to off-duty officer who pulled gun on gas station clerk

TUCSON- Questions are surfacing about how Tucson Police could have hired a man who showed up drunk to gas station on the east side, then pulled a gun on the clerk.

It happened early Tuesday morning at the Giant located in the 6800 block of East Sunrise Drive. Kyle James McCartin, 23, was off-duty at the time when surveillance video shows him pointing the gun. McCartin is now out of a job and facing charges of aggravated assault.

"I think young people still have maturing to do," says Deputy Chief Sharon Allen. "He's 23 and sometimes added years allow you to be a more mature person."

Deputy Chief Allen says McCartin went through the same rigorous testing required of any other law enforcement recruit across Arizona.

"The pre-hire part where they are actually applying for the job can take months," Deputy Chief Allen says. "Then we put them through 16 weeks of police academy and 14 more weeks of field training, so it's a lengthy process. They're on probation for 18 months from the moment we hire them."

McCartin, as well as other recruits, also went through psychological evaluations, which include written tests and interviews by experts in the field. Deputy Chief Allen points to the 1,000 or so other TPD employees who have stayed out of trouble as proof that the process works.

So then how did McCartin end up walking into a gas station at 3am and pulling a gun at the clerk?

"Is there from time to time someone who we believe met all the requirements and then demonstrates this behavior that was not consistent with the expectations?" Deputy Chief Allen says. "Yes that's going to happen."

It has happened two other times in just over the last two months.

In May, Ex-Tucson Cop Martin Ward was arrested on child porn charges. In June, Andrea Middleton resigned after being indicted on three counts of computer tampering. "That is not reflective of anything other than the fact that we had issues with three different people and they are no longer employed by the agency," Deputy Chief Allen says.

Deputy Chief Allen wants the community to take comfort in knowing the majority of TPD employees wear their badges with honor and if there are ever any red flags the department will provide psychological help right away.

McCartin is set to appear in court on August 5.

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