That blank record, Mew said, would have applied to a fingerprint search as well. Mew said that, in general, people are not fingerprinted unless they are arrested for a crime or apply for a job that requires it. The record could have been blank, or Mora-Lopez could have already established fingerprints on record, as Espinoza, for a previous job application. Either way, Mew said, Mora-Lopez’s fingerprints were not in the criminal record.
When the real Rafael Espinoza applied for a U.S. passport, it was discovered that his information was at odds with the now-substantial record created by Mora-Lopez having used his identity.
Mew also addressed the department’s use of polygraph tests in hiring recruits. He said that Espinoza’s polygraph file had been found and that it would be investigated to determine whether the correct questions were asked, the proper conclusions drawn from the data, or whether Mora-Lopez is capable of fooling a polygraph.
He reiterated that if it is found that improvements need to be made to the process, they will be made. He said that process is “at the top of our mind,” when thinking about upcoming recruits.
Mora-Lopez worked as a swing-shift patrol officer with the Anchorage Department since 2005. He was awarded a life-saving award, as Espinoza, from the department for along with another officer giving CPR to a person who was not breathing and had no pulse in May of 2010.
Chief Mew said Espinoza was about to receive a Chief’s Letter of Recognition for rescuing a man off of the mud flats who was thought to have a broken leg. There was no date on the document, but Mew said that since the letter had not yet been given, it was "probably relatively recent."
Mora-Lopez resigned from the department on Friday. Mew said that in general, if criminal allegations come up against an officer, detectives investigate and the officer is suspended with pay. If charges are filed, the officer is then suspended without pay, and if found guilty, then they are terminated.
Mew said that he had not received any additional information since last week to lead him to believe that Mora-Lopez had committed any other crimes outside of the case at hand.
Mew said that Internal Affairs would not have to investigate, because Mora-Lopez had resigned. "This one didn’t take the usual path," he said.
Mora-Lopez was released on $50,000 bail with the condition of electronic monitoring.
Other officers on his shift are upset about his arrest, but continue working, Mew said.
"While they like the officer, they don't like what he's done to our reputation," Mew said.