Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Phoenix" ...

  • Kids on the Line: An investigation into the contractors behind family separation

    As the U.S. government’s family separation policy played out in real time, Reveal’s investigation uncovered major problems with the contractors tasked with caring for immigrant children, including a defense company holding immigrant children in unlicensed facilities -- vacant office buildings in Phoenix without yards, showers or kitchens -- and a Texas shelter drugging immigrant children without their consent.
  • 12 News I-Team: Children At Risk

    12 News worked tirelessly to defend the public interest in an exclusive investigation, ’12 News- I-Team: Children At Risk’ which exposed a pattern of abuse affecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community, defenseless foster children. Through filing records requests, following up on anonymous tips, combing through legal documents, and mining dozens of sources, investigative reporter Bianca Buono uncovered the unthinkable: the Department of Child Services placed a six-year-old foster child directly into the home of a level three convicted sex offender.
  • Abandoned Mine Pollution

    CBS 5 Investigates found radioactive uranium from abandoned mines, leaking into Phoenix's largest drinking water reservoir. That is just one of the findings from our investigation into the toxins left behind at as many 100,000 abandoned mines across the state of Arizona. We collected soil and water samples from ten different locations and had them tested for heavy metals and radioactive materials. Our investigation is ongoing, but so far has prompted the US Forest Service to clean up one of the sites at a cost of more than $300,000, and prompted the state of Arizona to begin an inventory of old mines, in order to figure out which ones pose the most dangers to the environment and human health. http://www.cbs5az.com/story/30211875/cbs-5-investigates-abandoned-mines-polluting-valleys-water-supply?autostart=true http://www.cbs5az.com/story/30211875/cbs-5-investigates-abandoned-mines-polluting-valleys-water-supply?autostart=true
  • Shielded

    Most states have sovereign immunity laws that protect public entities from being held liable for the illegal actions of their employees, but there’s a weird quirk in Arizona’s law that prevents people from being able to sue a public entity in civil court if the employee committed a felony. The only exception is if the entity had absolute knowledge of the act ahead of time. It’s a situation of unintended consequences that doesn’t come up very often, but that some in the legal world feel needs to be change — Prominent Phoenix lawyer Mike Manning calls this law “an egregious violation of a citizen’s civil rights.” In my story, a young woman was sexually assaulted by a Phoenix Police Officer, and because he will almost certainly be convicted of a felony, the statute prevents her from being able to sue the Phoenix Police Department.
  • Sins of the Family

    Arizona is a state not that far removed from the frontier. It is a place to which someone can move and establish themselves anew, a place where a boy can come for college, make a fortune in business, enter politics, and be elected governor, without having to talk about his past. In Doug Ducey's case, it was as if his life began when he first signed up for classes at Arizona State University. Ducey, the Republican who became Arizona governor in November, talked continually during his campaign about his Midwestern family values, but even under questioning, only provided scant details about his upbringing. The Toledo-reared Arizona state treasurer at the time never talked about his family, except to say his father was a police officer and his mother was a homemaker back home. In their report, headlined "Sins of the Family," Phoenix New Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting discovered that Ducey's maternal relatives made up a powerful, organized-crime family in Toledo, Ohio, some having served prison time for their crimes. Indeed, his uncle has fled to a Caribbean island to escape prosecution. To this day, Ducey has not talked about his maternal family's criminal endeavors, though his reluctant campaign confirmed the facts of New Times and CIR's report after it was published. The report established that his convicted maternal grandparents played a big role in his upbringing. While running for governor, he said repeatedly that they taught him the meaning of family. This is a story of obfuscation by a political candidate, who claimed that everything about him was transparent, not of political corruption, since no evidence was uncovered that candidate Ducey benefited financially from the family business.
  • VA Scandal

    Reporter Dennis Wagner, with the help of whistle blowers and veterans, exposed bureaucratic inertia at the Veterans Affairs' hospitals, dishonest scheduling practices and institutional ambivalence, forcing resignations, firings and major national reform. Throughout the crisis, and as other reporters joined Wagner, The Republic published more than 100 stories, including groundbreaking investigative stories that advanced an understanding of the kind of abuses taking place in Phoenix.
  • Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation

    Investigative reporting by John Dougherty in Phoenix New Times demonstrated that multiple errors by the state of Arizona and the city of Prescott contributed to the deaths of 19 wild-lands firefighters in last summer's Yarnell Hill blaze. The revelations published in the Yarnell Hill fire articles came from information obtained through public-records requests and from well-placed sources. The original story discovered that a multitude of mistakes were made by state and local officials in fighting the fire, errors that contributed to the deaths of the 19 forest firemen at Yarnell Hill. The second story came after Prescott's wild-lands chief, in charge of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, alleged multiple misstatements of fact in the first story. This resulted in the correction of three errors, though no major finding of the original piece was proved wrong. (It should be noted that officials refused specific comment repeatedly before the original story was published, only coming forward later in an effort to dispute New Times' reporting.) The third story showed how a Forestry Division-commissioned report on the tragedy – which found that no official did anything wrong – was seriously flawed. Indeed, experts termed it a “coverup.” The fourth article examined an occupational-safety report supporting the paper's findings regarding state ineptitude at Yarnell Hill. The Forestry Division was fined more than $500,000 because of its flawed management of the fire, and lawsuits against the Forestry Division and Prescott's are in the works by families of the slain firefighters.
  • Special Report: Florence Report

    “Florence Exposed” is a three-part Phoenix New Times investigative series by Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons that demonstrates how small-town political corruption had tragic consequences in the Arizona prison city of Florence. The events described in “Florence Exposed” were developed after a tip from Phoenix NAACP leader Oscar Tillman, who trusted the alternative newspaper above all other Phoenix-area media to investigate what he had been told by a Florence police officer about politically influenced corruption within the city department. The officer and his partner – by that time fired for trying to find out what really happened in a child's slaying and a teenager's alleged rape – then turned over records to the paper that were at the core of the reporting. By demonstrating how the department, either purposely or through gross ineptitude, botched the investigations of these crimes, Phoenix New Times laid the groundwork for what should be a police-misconduct probe by state or federal authorities – if officials in Arizona could be trusted to do the right thing.
  • Raked Over the Coals

    For a decade the Phoenix Fire Department presented its arson squad as one of the nation’s best. Boasting it has the highest arson clearance rate of any major city fire department in the country. In 2013, 12 News Investigative Reporter Wendy Halloran began looking into the claims. She discovered the arson squad relies heavily on the nose of a dog trained to detect accelerants. In fact, the dog’s handler has stated under oath his lab (Labrador retriever) is better equipped to detect arson than the laboratories used by fire departments across the country which specialize in the skill. When alerted by Halloran to Phoenix’s methods national experts examined the cases Halloran reviewed and challenged the Arson squad’s finding. Halloran discovered the dog is fallible. At least four people were falsely accused of arson as a result.
  • Yarnell Hill Fire Investigation

    On June 28, 2013, multiple lightning strikes triggered a series of small fires around the community of Yarnell, Arizona. The fires remained small in nature through Saturday night, but several were moving closer to homes. Thirty-seven fires were being managed by hot shot crews and local fire departments. On Sunday, a series of weather events, poor communication with crews in the field and the lack of aerial fire suppression support led to a series of events which culminated in the deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hot Shot team. The Yarnell tragedy was covered exhaustively by local and national media through the July 9th memorial which was attended by Vice President Joe Biden. Within days of the tragedy, KPNX-TV, 12 News in Phoenix, assigned it's Watchdog team to find out what happened, follow the financial donations and benefits to hot shot families, make sure the money was going where it was intended and provide background on the person charged with finding out what went wrong at Yarnell. The stories included in this submission provide a comprehensive overview to our reporting. It should be noted these reports were exclusives at the time they aired.