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Police chiefs could face punishment for not reporting officer misconduct

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The state's police watchdog agency is considering sanctions against police chiefs and sheriffs who fail to report cases of officer misconduct.

Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training, the agency that certifies and disciplines police officers, is looking at punishing police administrators who fail to report cases quickly enough. By law, police administrators must report cases of misconduct to POST so it can launch its own investigation.

"Right now, there's no teeth to the statute," Scott Stephenson, POST's executive director, said in a recent interview with FOX 13. "There needs to be some type of sanction for not reporting."

POST wants some type of punishment for chiefs and sheriffs who don't report allegations of misconduct that can range from DUIs, sex offenses, lying and theft.

"The whole impetus for this adminstrative rule is to add a little teeth to it and hold all administrators accountable as we do every other officer in all levels of law enforcement," Stephenson said.

POST has considered making it a crime, a class C misdemeanor. But at its December meeting, the POST Council -- which is made up largely of police chiefs and sheriffs -- did not seem to support that.

"I'd be willing to make the motion that we go ahead and move towards an administrative remedy to this issue," then-Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds told the council.

The council voted for making it an administrative penalty, bringing chiefs and sheriffs before POST to explain themselves. Before it becomes policy, it would still need input from sheriffs and chiefs associations, as well as a period of public comment.

Stephenson said the number of police administrators who don't report misconduct allegations is rare. He said he believes they are not doing so out of a desire to protect their officers from a POST investigation, but it slips through with other duties required of an administrator.

Still, Stephenson said it would ensure transparency at a time when police officers are already under fire for some of their actions.

Gregory Lucero, a member of the group Utah Against Police Brutality, which has led protests in Salt Lake City against police violence, told FOX 13 he believes it should be a crime for police administrators who don't report misconduct.

"I think that's a good start, but not nearly enough," Lucero said. "We need to hold these police to a higher standard. Certainly, at the top is a good start."

13 comments

  • Michael Stewart

    Let’s get something done in Weber County and Ogden City,Utah. There needs to be an investigations of these individuals. Oh and let’s not forget the South Ogden Chief of Police.

    • bobert

      The only people who have problems with police are losers and criminals. When I see the police hitting a criminal, I do not see abuse, I see a fun game called, “whack a thug”. Breath easy, do not break the law…

    • BOB

      Just because your mommy let you get away with throwing temper tantrums doesn’t mean the police will put up with your drunken stupidity. Behave yourself Michael and let somebody else learn the hard way.

      • BOBlikesPenis

        BOB, you are a criminal, weather you admit it or not. You have broken a law somewhere. I am so sick of hearing what you have to say as it is always dumb and as far right as it could be. As far as the police they shouldn’t get away with anything, they should be held to way higher of a standard.

      • JOSHUA DAVIS

        Re BOBLIKESPENIS: It is hard to take any comments made by someone with your screen name seriously. Kind of childish don’t you think.

  • BOB

    Chris Rock offers some insightful tips on how not to get your a$$ kicked by the police. Follow those tips and let it be some other unfortunate fool that has to learn the hard way.

  • John SMOKEY Hatzimichaels

    If we don’t get off their backs and support our law enforcement, there may come a day when we wished we had

Comments are closed.