The Tombstone Marshal’s Office lost its longtime sergeant last week when he quit in response to a Feb. 22 complaint from a female employee of a local business of an alleged “unwanted advance” which made the woman feel uncomfortable.
Sgt. Travis Mattern tendered his immediate resignation Feb. 23 when he was called into a meeting with new Marshal Jim Adams. In a statement released the next day, Adams described the complaint as one that did not involve physical contact and was of a non-criminal nature.
The marshal also noted Mattern would have been suspended Feb. 23 while an administrative review was completed. If the complaint had been sustained, it may have been a violation of TMO’s policy concerning employee conduct, but Mattern’s resignation made the need for further investigation unnecessary, Adams noted.
Mattern, 41, completed the Pima Community College Law Enforcement Academy in May 2015 and received his appointment with TMO effective the next month. He referred all questions to his attorney, who did not respond to a request for a comment.
Arizona Daily Independent has confirmed an attorney who specializes in sexual harassment lawsuits will be meeting next week with at least one woman in connection to a potential claim against the City of Tombstone.
The city has complied with its statutory obligation of reporting Mattern’s resignation to Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST). Adams and City Attorney Ann Roberts now have several days to follow up with any documentation they believe the board should have related to Mattern’s peace officer certification.
Roberts, who also serves as City Prosecutor, will also be conferring with Adams to review any outstanding citations and city prosecutions Mattern was involved with. In addition, the Cochise County Attorney’s Office and Arizona Attorney General’s Office will have to determine if the circumstances surrounding the sergeant’s departure will impact any ongoing or pending prosecutions.
It’s unclear how Mattern’s resignation will impact a civil lawsuit filed last year against the City of Tombstone, former Marshal Bob Randall, Mattern, and other deputies following the Jan. 28, 2019 arrest of Matthew King in a home burglary case.
King was identified as a suspect based on shoe prints Mattern found in the house and the nearby desert. However, the next day the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office obtained information that another man committed the burglary.
The charges against King were eventually dismissed but not before he spent $2,500 to secure his release after several hours in jail. He also now has a felony arrest record.
Tombstone’s municipal risk management company has assigned an attorney to represent the city in the King lawsuit. The second suspect later accepted a plea deal in a different home invasion case that included a promise he would not be prosecuted for the Tombstone burglary.
In 2018, Mattern was recognized by the Wild West Detachment of the Marine Corps League with its Distinguished Citizen Award for his off-duty efforts in talking a distraught man down from an Interstate 10 overpass.