Police discipline “lenient” in Utah, Auditor finds

Jan 30, 2019, 6:19 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:28 am

SALT LAKE CITY – When it comes to police officer misconduct, state officials say cops in Utah have been getting off easy.  A new report from the Utah State Auditor’s Office shows discipline in this state appears to be lenient.

Auditors looked over eight years of records among a sample of law enforcement agencies in Utah and compared them to disciplinary records of officers in states like Arizona, Oregon, Kansas, Idaho and Montana.  They searched through cases of domestic violence, driving under the influence, use of illegal drugs and officers having sex while on the job.

For instance, in the case of domestic violence, Auditor John Dougall says 89 percent of officers had their certifications revoked in other states, but, that didn’t happen here.

“In Utah, we didn’t see any revocation.  We actually saw 100 percent of those cases were somewhere between a one and three-year suspension.  So, we did look lenient there,” Dougall says.  He adds, “Illegal drug use… this is where 18 percent of police officer certification was revoked in Utah versus 100 percent in those other states.”

Also, Dougall says not every case of misconduct had been reported to Police Officer Standards and Training, as required by law.

“We took a sample of police departments, and three of them had cases that should have been reported, from our perspective, that were not.  It’s important that those cases are reported because that way POST can take action on that,” Dougall says.

He also suggests background information about an officer’s past disciplinary actions should be more accessible than it is now.  Currently, when an officer wants to transfer from one agency to another, the department can see if that person has been disciplined, but they can’t see why.

However, officials from POST say they disagree with the findings.  Director Scott Stephenson tells the Deseret News that the definition of “revocation” changes from one state to another.  He says, in some places, that word simply means an officer is suspended for five years.  In Utah, that person can never be an officer again.

Stephenson also says law enforcement can look into a person’s conduct when they’re not on duty, while agencies in other states can’t.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered se...
Elizabeth Weiler

Missing girl from Arizona found in West Valley basement

On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered sex offender. 
14 hours ago
Police arrested a man in Washington County on suspicion of human trafficking a child on Thursday. ...
Hugo Rikard-Bell, Mark Jackson, Adam Small

UHP arrests man suspected of trafficking New England teen

Court documents show that the UHP pulled over Tevon Jarrell Cullors-Tillman after his car was spotted driving erratically.
14 hours ago
A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing...
Tierney Sneed, CNN

Court says gun law targeting domestic violence suspects is unconstitutional

 (CNN) — A federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, a conservative-leaning appeals court ruled Thursday. The ruling is the latest significant decision dismantling a gun restriction in the wake of the Supreme Court’s expansion of Second Amendment rights last year in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. […]
14 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police have arrested two people in connection to a fatal shooting on Wednesday, Feb....
Mark Jones

SLCPD arrest two people in connection to a Wednesday shooting

Two people have been arrested in connection to a Wednesday shooting, according to Salt Lake City Police. The victim, a 35-year-old, died at the hospital.
2 days ago
Salt Lake City Police are investigating a fatal stabbing at the Palmer Court Apartments on Thursday...
Mark Jones

One person dead following a stabbing in Salt Lake City suspect still at large

One person died following a stabbing in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon, according to Salt Lake City Police. Police are still searching for a suspect.
2 days ago
Police are looking for a shooting suspect, after a man was found with a critical gunshot wound in S...
Kate Davis and Simone Seikaly

One man dead, suspect on the run after Glendale shooting

Glendale police said the shooting happened Wednesday night near 1665 South Riverside Drive, not far from the Jordan River.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Police discipline “lenient” in Utah, Auditor finds