City of Somerton shares why police chief was dismissed

Police chief out city does not renew contract

SOMERTON, Ariz. - The city of Somerton told News 11 why their police chief was dismissed because he did not follow certain items of his contract. 

Mayor Jose Yepez said Jeffery Cavender's contract was not renewed earlier this month because he didn't comply with several things in the contract.

One of those items was where Cavender lived. According to Yepez, Cavender was required to have a Somerton address during his first year as Chief of Police. He said never happen.  

Back in November, Cavender faced criticism following the suspension of two officers in the department. Residents questioned Cavender's background and the suspension of Capt. Michelle Magana who claimed the Chief retaliated against her for exercising her First Amendment rights.

News 11 asked the mayor if any of this factored into the council's decision. 

“There’s always two sides to every story you know and so, without having the real facts from anybody. You know it was hard for us to base our decision on that. And so again the decision was made on based on certain things that were discussed in that session and then not to renew the contract. And yes, one of them was that he did not move to Somerton during that one year period,” said Yepez.  

The council could have given him an extension to meet that condition.

We reached out to Cavender for comment, but his work phone is no longer in service. 

Yepez said the department's second-in-command, Capt. Joseph Turitto will serve as acting chief while the city recruits candidates for the position.

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