Utah cops may soon face discipline for sexting and masturbation on duty

SANDY, Utah -- The agency that certifies and disciplines police officers is drafting new disciplinary guidelines for cops who engage in "sexting" and masturbate while on-duty.

At its quarterly meeting on Tuesday, the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council was briefed on proposed discipline on the issue, which falls under sexual misconduct. POST Executive Director Scott Stephenson said there have been issues that need to be addressed where officers have engaged in inappropriate communications with confidential informants, colleagues and others.

"I don't think taxpayers would like the fact that their officers -- some, very few -- would be taking time when they should be enforcing the laws or protecting and sending inappropriate messages," Stephenson told FOX 13.

When Stephenson brought up the issue of an officer who "pleasures themselves out sight, on duty in their car" it brought a round of nervous laughter from the POST Council.

Stephenson said it was unfortunate, but POST currently has no rules against it so they are drafting some. The sexting rule is expected to also address emojis and whether those could be considered inappropriate. The disciplinary guidelines will be considered at POST Council's next meeting in September.

POST Council disciplined eight police officers on Tuesday for various misconduct. They included:

  • Retired Murray police officer Luis Argueta was given a two year suspension for assault. POST said Argueta punched a teenage boy as he tried to render aid. Argueta's attorney said he was being kicked by the boy, who was high on a drug and it was self-defense. Argueta was convicted at trial, but his attorney said it was under appeal.
  • Former Iron Co. Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Mayne was given a three year suspension for sexual conduct while on duty. POST accused him of groping co-workers and sending a sexually explicit photo. The sheriff's office said Mayne had been terminated last year.
  • Former Utah Dept. of Corrections employee Samuel Thomas had his certification revoked for reckless endangerment. POST said he and another officer drove a golf cart toward an inmate at the Utah State Prison in jest, but failed to stop it soon enough. The inmate was struck. POST said Thomas entered a plea in abeyance.
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