Washington Co. Sheriff, Attorney to testify in support of disbanding FLDS town police force

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Washington County Sheriff and the county attorney will testify before a federal judge later this month that the Colorado City Town Marshals Office should be disbanded.

Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap and Sheriff Cory Pulsipher are among the witnesses for the U.S. Department of Justice at a hearing later this month over penalties for discrimination by the polygamous border towns of Hildale and Colorado City. The witness lists for the federal government and the towns were filed in court and obtained Saturday by FOX 13.

Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox tours the destruction of the Hildale flooding with Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher and Hildale Mayor Phillip Barlow on Sept. 15, 2015. (Photo by Ben Winslow)

Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox tours the destruction of the Hildale flooding with Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher and Hildale Mayor Phillip Barlow on Sept. 15, 2015. (Photo by Ben Winslow)

“He (Belnap) is expected to offer expert and non-expert testimony regarding his general experience with, and particular incidents involving, the CCMO (Colorado City Marshal’s Office); the need for disbandment of the CCMO to ensure constitutional policing in the Cities; and current efforts by Mohave County and Washington County to coordinate for the provision of police and dispatch services in the Cities,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.

The federal government is asking for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office to take over policing services in the towns, accusing the town marshals of being beholden to Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church. It follows a jury trial earlier this year that found the towns discriminated against non-FLDS members in government services and policing.

A federal judge in Phoenix has scheduled a three-day hearing beginning Oct. 25 to determine penalties.

Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan and Sgt. Mike Hoggard in a photograph provided by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan and Sgt. Mike Hoggard in a photograph provided by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.

In its own filings, the town governments plan to call Colorado City Marshal Jerry Darger.

“He is expected to testify about the negative impact the disbandment of the Marshal’s Department would have on the residents who reside within Colorado City and Hildale, the lack of assistance received from Mohave County Sheriff Deputies and Washington County Sheriff Deputies, the operations of the Marshal’s Department, the policies and procedures of the Marshal’s Department, cooperation with Arizona POST and Utah POST, and the education, training, and certifications of the officers,” Colorado City Attorney Jeffrey Matura wrote in a filing.

Among the other witnesses for Colorado City: Town Manager David Darger, who would testify about non-discrimination policies already implemented; and Tami Goodin with the Utah Department of Health, which recently awarded Hildale/Colorado City emergency responders with an award for their efforts during last year’s flooding that killed 21.