With 16 years as a Tucson police officer, Michelle Preiss was only four short years away from early retirement.

Michelle Preiss/TPD photo

That retirement, alas, may come even a bit sooner than expected as she faces a trio of domestic violence charges – including assaulting a minor and playing around with a deadly weapon, according to a news release from the Tucson Police Department.

The charges stem from an alleged incident while she was off duty and inside her home.

TPD heard about the alleged incident Aug. 6 and its Office of Internal Affairs immediately sprung into action to investigation the allegations. The findings of its “comprehensive investigation” were presented to the Pima County Attorney’s Office Aug. 24.

The Pima County Grand Jury indicted Preiss, 46, Nov. 8 on three domestic violence felony charges: aggravated assault of a person under 15 years of age; aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; and disorderly conduct for recklessly handling, displaying or discharging a dangerous weapon or dangerous instrument.

The only additional details TPD provided was that the minor was part of Preiss’s household and Preiss allegedly “recklessly displayed” a handgun, although she did not shoot it. Police were alerted of the incident by a concerned citizen who “provided limited preliminary information.” No one was injured during the incident.

In addition to a summons inviting her to court for her Nov. 15 arraignment, Preiss also received a Notice of Intent to Terminate from her Tucson police position as an officer.

In the meantime, she gets to sit around making money, thanks to department policy, as she’s on “imposed leave with pay” until her Nov. 17 termination hearing.

While these alleged actions are more than allegedly atrocious, TPD assures us this is an anomaly, not the norm.


The Tucson Police Department treats all allegations of criminal acts or misconduct by employees, whether civilian or sworn, as serious. Each of these investigations is thoroughly investigated by our Office of Internal Affairs, and if criminal violations are found, the cases are then presented to the appropriate prosecutorial entity for review. Ms. Preiss’ actions are not representative of the nearly 1,000 men and women with the Tucson Police Department who serve the community and put their lives on the line each day.

We believe them. We’ve met too many fine men and women from the Tucson Police Department to think otherwise.

POLL RESULTS as of 5 a.m. Nov. 11 (in case updates erase poll results):

Have you ever personally witnessed a police officer acting illegally or inappropriately?
Yes, while on duty. 31%
Yes, while off duty. 6%
Yes, both on and off duty. 17%
No. 38%
I’m not sure. The victim may have deserved it. 2%
Other – Please explain in comment section of post. 2%
144 users voted


What do you think?

Are you a fan of “imposed leave with pay” while everyone waits for hearing dates?

Rodney King video aside, have you ever seen a police officer act illegally or inappropriately?