MURRAY, Utah - The Utah Highway Patrol faces tough questions after a leaked memo suggests a trooper falsified DUI arrests for several years and was still able to keep her job.
Trooper Lisa Steed made some 1200 DUI arrests between 2008 and 2012, earning her the Trooper of the Year award. However, in April, the Highway Patrol demoted her to a desk job. Now, a leaked memo suggests UHP knew about the problem in May 2010 and still allowed Steed to patrol with the DUI squad another year and a half.
In the memo, Sgt. Rob Nixon says he analyzed 20 of Steed’s DUI cases in 2009 after a prosecutor wouldn’t pursue one of Steed’s DUI arrests. Nixon writes, “11 out of 20 arrests showed no impairing drug in the system. Four of them had nothing at all.”
On Friday, UHP responded. Major Michael Rapich says, “a section commander felt that there was something that needed to be addressed and it was addressed. How that was done and the steps that were taken, those are performance related issues and I can’t go into specifics.”
“Frankly I’m shocked that UHP, when this was discovered, didn’t simply stop her right then, they didn’t take her off the street right then,” says Defense Attorney Joseph Jardine.
Jardine says he never received a copy of the memo when he asked UHP for Steed’s file while representing a DUI defendant. Jardine believes the highway patrol should have provided the defendants the memo.
“That particular memo that has recently come out in the news media is not the type of document that would make it into a personnel file,” says Rapich.
UHP says it's investigating who leaked the memo and the Commissioner of Public Safety will ultimately determine if Steed should keep her job. Right now, the case is still an open, internal investigation.