Police officers disciplined for DUI, theft, sex at Utah POST meeting
Santa Clara • Chastity Corona called it the worst night of her life.
A dispatcher for Unified Police Department, Corona had recently undergone a gastric procedure that shrunk her stomach. She finally back to eating solid foods on Feb. 4, 2012, when she went out to dinner, but didn't realize how the smaller stomach would impact her ability to drink alcohol. She was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on the way home.
She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for DUI and received 48 hours of community service. But on Thursday, Utah's police regulators had to decide whether Corona should receive the 18-month suspension called for in its guidelines.
"I do feel that I have let down UPD," the 41-year-old Corona told the council between sniffles. "And maybe my family. But I hope that I can get that respect back."
Despite letters of support from Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder and others, the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST)decided Thursday at its quarterly meeting that Corona didn't qualify for leniency and issued the suspension.
Thirteen other dispatchers or police officers also received discipline.
Wayne County Deputy Craig Brown was another who came to ask the council for leniency.
Brown hit a deer with a car and was found to have a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit. Brown pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while impaired.
He told the council his drinking was the result of traumas that happened shortly before that night, including arriving at a car accident that killed an elderly couple, recovering the body of a dead climber and seeing his wife's truck parked at a bar.
He pulled over to talk to her and found her in the truck having sex with a man.
Brown apologized and said he was receiving treatment for substance abuse. But, like with Corona, the council issued him an 18-month suspension.
Former St. George school resource officer Brandon Haws, 34, also asked for a lighter punishment. He said he was only trying to relate to a troubled 17-year-old when he electronically sent him sexually-suggestive images.
When council member and Utah Highway Patrol Col. Daniel Fuhr asked Haws if he really did send the teenager photos of himself simulating an erection and graphic images of teens from another school, Haws answered yes. Moments later, the council voted to revoke Haws police certification. Haws had resigned from the St. George Police Department in December.
The council issued three letters of caution on Thursday. Two of them went to a pair of South Salt Lake police officers who looked up driver license information using logins belonging to an undercover alias. The third letter went to a Utah Department of Public Safety dispatcher who smacked her ex-husband after he goaded her during an argument.
Other discipline issued Thursday:
Garfield County Sheriff's Office • Cache Miller; assault and domestic violence in presence of children, two-year suspension
Springville Police • Nathan N. Brimhall; falsifying police report, one-year suspension
St. George Police • Rick B. Goulding; sex on duty, three-year suspension
Summit County Sheriff's Office• Christopher Schoenfeld; falsifying an application for police certification, two-year suspension
Sunset Police • Brian Kirby; trespassing, 3-month suspension
Utah County Sheriff's Office • William Barney; Sex with a probationer, certification revoked
Utah Department of Corrections • Randall Scott Hall; theft and disorderly conduct, 15-month suspension
Utah Highway Patrol • Jon Gardner; driving while impaired, one-year suspension
Nine officers were disciplined at the POST council's December meeting in Sandy.
New police academy approved for Price
The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council on Thursday approved the creation of a new police academy at Utah State University Eastern in Price. M. Scott Henrie, an associate professor of criminal justice at USU Eastern, will be the academy's director. He said the first class will start in August with an estimated 15 to 20 students and could attract future police officers to serve communities throughout central and eastern Utah.