Phil Galeoto, named Monday by Gov. Jim Gibbons as head of the Nevada Department of Public Safety, resigned in 1999 from the Reno Police Department amid an internal affairs probe into his failure to enter arrest warrants into a police computer.
Gibbons spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said Wednesday that the
governor "stands by the appointment" but will review the old information on Galeoto. Subbotin added that Gibbons "did know something" about Galeoto's departure from the Reno agency before
appointing him to his state position.
Galeoto wasn't immediately available for comment.
Galeoto spent 24 years with as a Reno police officer, resigning in mid-1999 as a lieutenant. Jerry Hoover, then chief of the department, called the resignation voluntary and said Galeoto wasn't forced out.
Hoover said Galeoto quit after an internal investigation was started to determine why a "large number" of warrants weren't entered into the police computer. If information isn't entered, patrol officers don't know if someone stopped for a traffic violation is wanted for a crime.
Hoover said at the time he doubted there was a deliberate attempt by Galeoto to keep names out of the computer, believing instead that the officer "just got busy doing other projects." But he added that such an oversight could jeopardize an officer's safety.
Galeoto recently returned from Iraq where he was director of the
Baghdad Police College. He also had worked as a tribal police chief
in Minnesota and did police work in California after leaving the Reno Police Department.
Galeoto replaced George Togliatti as the state's public safety chief, overseeing nine agencies including the highway patrol, emergency management, parole and probation, investigations, state fire marshal and traffic safety.
Togliatti, a former FBI agent who was state public safety chief for three years, said in a letter to former Gov. Kenny Guinn that he was resigning "with deepest regret."
Togliatti spent more than 23 years with the FBI. He managed organized crime and drug units in Las Vegas and served as the white-collar crime supervisor.