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Officer cited for domestic violence

Published January 11, 2008 1:35 am

SLC officer, employee of the month in March, is placed on paid leave
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Salt Lake City police officer was cited for domestic violence after a dispute with his wife and has been given leave from the department.

On Jan. 3, Officer Richard Farnsworth was at his West Valley City home when a third party called police, said West Valley police Capt. Tom McLachlan. Police found Farnsworth's wife with minor injuries and issued a misdemeanor citation for domestic violence to Farnsworth, McLachlan said.

The caller told police the wife's nose was broken, but McLachlan said he does not know if that proved correct. Farnsworth could not be reached for immediate comment Thursday.

The citation charges Farnsworth with a class B misdemeanor punishable by as much as 60 days in jail. The West Valley justice court has not yet received a copy of the citation, a clerk there said Thursday.

The Salt Lake City Police Department has placed Farnsworth on paid leave pending the outcome of the case, said Detective Jared Wihongi.

In Utah, the state police board disciplined 14 officers for domestic violence between 2000 and 2005. That was about 8 percent of cases the board adjudicated in those years. The standard punishment is a four-year suspension from policing.

The Salt Lake City Police Department offers counseling to its officers, including how to cope with stress on and off duty.

Farnsworth was hired by the department in August 2004, according to city records.

Farnsworth was part of a publicized event in summer 2006 when he killed a dog.

Farnsworth was investigating a vandalism case and approached a man in a yard. The man's dog appeared from behind him. Farnsworth said in a report the dog charged and lunged at him, and Farnsworth shot the dog to protect himself. The dog owner disputed the animal was a threat.

The city's civilian review board exonerated Farnsworth. He went on to be the Salt Lake City Police Department's officer of the month in March 2007.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com