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Utah's Right to Know
Donald Meyers
Donald W. Meyers writes about open-government issues for The Salt Lake Tribune. He is also the site manager of utahsright.com, the Tribune's online database of public records. He is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists' National Freedom of Information Committee and sits on the board of directors of the Utah Foundation for Open Government.

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Persistence, public attention flushes out Utah Highway Patrol complaint statistics

The good news is that, contrary to earlier reports, the Utah Highway Patrol does track complaints against troopers, and punishes those who break the rules.

Unfortunately, it took the earlier reports to get the UHP to provide the data months after it was first requested.

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As Nate Carlisle reported, The Salt Lake Tribune requested data on complaints filed against UHP troopers and their disposition. At first, UHP spokesman Dwayne Baird said the department did not keep such statistics. Later, Baird said the department kept the statistics, but making them available would be a "laborious but not impossible task."

After the Tribune’s Nov. 18 story about the lack of information from Utah on complaints against troopers — and how neighboring states track complaints, UHP officials said not only are the complaints tracked, but that supervisors are regularly updated. The highway patrol also provided data for the past three years showing the number of complaints and how many are being tracked.

Baird and Deputy Attorney General Lana Taylor told Carlisle that they did not know that the UHP had compiled those statistics.

The story came in the wake of swirling allegations of misconduct against Cpl. Lisa Steed, who is fighting her firing by the UHP.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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