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Paul Rolly: County cop bypasses burglary call to bully jogger

Published June 11, 2014 11:10 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Skyline High teacher Nancy Ballard was celebrating the end of the school year with a morning jog Friday about 10:30 a.m., when she inadvertently interfered with a Unified Police Department officer's ability to catch a burglar, according to the cop.

Running southbound from Skyline, she was at the crosswalk at 3900 South and Birch Drive, just below Wasatch Boulevard, and waiting as cars were stopping to let her pass. Suddenly, the cop, as she began to cross, blew through the crosswalk without slowing, an act that would have earned anyone else a ticket.

Instinctively, she pointed to the white lines and the flags bordering the crosswalk and yelled, "This is a crosswalk."

She then ran across the street, because the other cars had dutifully stopped, and entered onto Birch Drive, a quiet residential street.

Suddenly, she was confronted by flashing lights and a siren. The cop had returned to confront her.

As he pulled up beside her, siren blaring, he jumped out of the car. He scolded her about distracting him when he was on his way to a burglary call and now she had wasted his valuable time and perhaps thwarted his ability to catch the thief.

When she told him his lights were not flashing when he drove through the crosswalk so there was no way for her to know, he said it was a stealth assignment because the burglary was in progress.

So he was in such a rush to get to the scene of the crime that he could not stop at the crosswalk, but he could take the time to turn around and lecture a female jogger who had the temerity to point out that he ran through a crosswalk.

Unfortunately, Ballard was so stunned that she didn't think to get his name or notice the car number.

Another power freak • Now comes an example of a Utahn whose bullying tactics put the state in national headlines.

Standard-Examiner reporter Morgan Briesmaster accompanied another reporter to cover Ogden's 2nd District Court when a security guard told her she couldn't come in because her professionally discreet multicolored blouse was sleeveless.

During a break, she and colleague Ben Lockhart went back to the newsroom to find "proper attire." He gave her his bulky winter coat, which was enough to allow her into the courtroom, albeit uncomfortably.

The paper's executive editor, Andrew Howell, wrote a column about it and, of course, it went viral. The story has appeared in the New York Daily News and Huffington Post as well as other national publications.

This, coming on the heels of the Wasatch High debacle in which yearbook pictures were doctored to make girls look more modest, provides another punch line for Utah and its self-appointed decency police.

Classless in Salt Lake City • Penny Kocherhans and her family have a Memorial Day routine that worked well — until this year.

They go to several graves scattered in various locations at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. At each one, on the Saturday before Memorial Day, they place flowers, basket holders and windmills. They go back on Memorial Day to water and take care of each site. Then, on the following Sunday, before the Monday when the cemetery starts the cleanup, they go back and pick up the baskets and windmills to be used the next year.

But this year, when they went back to collect the baskets and windmills, they were gone, as were the plants.

Kocherhans called the cemetery office to see if crews had started the cleanup early. They hadn't.

Someone apparently went to the cemetery and stole from the dead.