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Goodyear officer fired over prank 911 call

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(Source: CBS 5 News) Former Goodyear Police Officer Matt Manzano was fired over a prank 911 call in April 2012. (Source: CBS 5 News) Former Goodyear Police Officer Matt Manzano was fired over a prank 911 call in April 2012.
GOODYEAR, AZ (CBS5) -

Prank calling 911 and non-emergency dispatch is not a joke - it takes officers away from legitimate calls and potential crimes. So why would a Goodyear patrol officer do just that?

The man we're talking about had worked for Goodyear for about five years. And according to paperwork we obtained through a public records request, he and a friend decided to prank call dispatch to see if members of his squad would respond.

According to police records, Goodyear officer Matt Manzano and his civilian friend Mark Hall talked about playing a prank on members of Manzano's squad in April of last year while they were hanging out. Hall asked Manzano for the number for non-emergency dispatch, and he gave it to him.

"There's guys running around yelling and screaming with masks on in the street," Hall said, reporting a false disturbance to the dispatcher.

Manzano later told investigators he wasn't in the room when Hall dialed, but that when he returned, Hall was talking with dispatch. The dispatcher asked for their address, and when Hall asked to remain anonymous, the dispatcher assured them she just needed the address to pull up a map.

According to police records, Manzano - who admitted to having two beers - turned on his radio and heard the call sent out. Then, instead of calling dispatch and canceling the call, Manzano put on a mask in the shape and color of a frog and waited for the officers to respond. When they did, they soon realized it was a false alarm. We paid a visit to Manzano, who was fired over the call. We asked him if he was willing to talk to us about what happened.

"Not yet. I have a hearing coming up soon so I'd rather just wait," he told us.

Manzano's case is now before the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which could revoke or suspend his peace officer certification.

Goodyear police sent the case to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, but they declined to press charges, saying a conviction wouldn't be likely.

Goodyear police declined an on-camera interview but sent us a statement saying:

"The city acted immediately upon learning of officer Manzano's misconduct and followed proper protocol as soon as it became aware of the allegations against him. He was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The findings of the investigation led to his termination within weeks of the incident. The city of Goodyear holds all its employees to a high standard and will not tolerate unethical misconduct by either its sworn or non-sworn professionals."

We also spoke with Hall over the phone; he told us they didn't properly investigate the incident and that Manzano should never have been fired.

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

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