The Utah Highway Patrol recently released statistics on citizen complaints about trooper misconduct ("Utah troopers commit major breaches, UHP statistics show," Tribune, Dec. 17).
The statistics seem to suggest that the vast majority of complaints were unfounded. It is important to remember that the Utah Highway Patrol has unfettered discretion to declare what grievance is unfounded.
My 26-year-old son was a passenger when the driver was stopped for an insignificant traffic violation and ordered to take field sobriety tests. My son, who has short hair and was polite, wanted to keep his passenger window down so he could be a witness to the police encounter. The trooper ordered him to roll it up or he would be tasered. The Highway Patrol exonerated the trooper and declared the complaint to be without merit.
There is no accountability when a police department polices its own officers. The Highway Patrol will get its comeuppance when the citizens of Utah are required to pay thousands of dollars for ex-trooper Lisa Steed's repeated unchecked acts of misconduct.
In the end, nothing will change until an independent review of police misconduct is mandated. Letting the fox guard the henhouse has a predicable outcome.
Walter F. Bugden Jr.
Salt Lake City
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