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Railroaded? Pleasant View Police Chief Jackson fired

Published July 14, 2014 10:08 pm

City council • Attorney alleges "rush to judgment" driven by egos of city officials.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Longtime Pleasant View Police Chief D. Scott Jackson was fired during an emergency city council meeting over the weekend. The reasons remained murky, with city officials remaining resolutely mum.

City Administrator Melinda Greenwood on Monday issued a statement confirming the decision but refusing to discuss its genesis.

"Scott Jackson dutifully served the community of Pleasant View for 17 years, 15 of which he was the Chief of Police. His many years of dedicated service are appreciated and the impact of his positive contributions to the community will be recognized for many years to come," she stated, adding, "It is not appropriate for the city to further comment on personnel matters."

Greenwood also sent out a photocopy of city code noting that the police chief can be terminated "without cause ... whenever, in the opinion of the mayor with consent and advice of the city council, the good of the police service in the community will be served thereby."

Mayor Toby Mileski, who cast the tie-breaker in the 3-2 vote Saturday to terminate Jackson following a three-hour closed-door session, did not return telephone and email inquiries Monday seeking reasons for the firing. Similar requests for comment from the four council members involved in the vote also went unanswered.

Jackson's telephone is unlisted and he could not be reached for comment. However, his Idaho Falls, Idaho attorney, Randy Neal, blasted the firing of his client as a "rush to judgment" led by an "ego-driven" mayor and city administrator.

Neal said Saturday's decision came one day after Jackson had met with Mileski and Greenwood over unspecified allegations against one of his officers. The meeting grew heated, words were exchanged and "feelings were hurt."

"This [initially] was not about the chief, who has served with honor and distinction," Neal insisted, though the attorney alleged that Greenwood subsequently had implied that Jackson did not enjoy the support of his officers. Greenwood declined to address that allegation.

Those statements, Neal said, "were untrue," and he noted that "the vast majority" of the department officers and staff showed up at the meeting in support of the 15-year chief, but were denied the opportunity to speak; neither was Jackson's legal counsel.

"This was not a public hearing, so the meeting was not opened up to public comments," Greenwood responded in an email response when asked by neither Jackson's attorney nor his officers were allowed any input.

"This was one of the craziest things I've ever seen," Neal said. "There are violations of state law and municipal code all over the place here."

Neal said Jackson's only recourse now is to sue, unless Pleasant View citizens demand an accounting from their city leaders.

Jackson, a career law enforcement officer, had been chief of the Weber County town of 8,000's eight full-time officers since August 1999, when he was elevated from a three-year stint as a detective. From 1993 to 1996, he had been director of the Kane County Narcotics Strike Force, having earlier served four years as a police officer in Kanab.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims