Utah’s police regulators suspend or boot 8 officers for offenses that include lying, sex on duty

Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Public Safety Education and Training Center at Miller Campus Salt Lake Community College.

Sandy • Kevin Fuller says he didn’t lie about changing a police report.

“I stand here today speaking from my soul that I did not lie,” Fuller, a former West Jordan police officer, said. “I was simply mistaken.”

The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which regulates police in the state, disagreed. On Thursday, the council suspended Fuller’s police certification for four years.

Fuller was one of eight peace officers suspended or booted at the council’s quarterly meeting.

According to information the council’s staff presented at Thursday’s meeting, Fuller was helping another police force serve a search warrant in 2013. The officers serving the warrant found what Fuller believed to be property stolen in West Jordan theft cases. Fuller logged the property into a department records system but did not note to whom the merchandise belonged.

When an officer from another police force called Fuller almost a year later inquiring about the property, Fuller went back to the records system and listed the owners. Amending a police report is not unusual, but officers typically make notes in the report making those amendments clear. Council staff said Fuller made no such notations; someone looking at the report would have thought it was the original.

When investigators questioned Fuller in 2017, he said he didn’t change the report. The West Jordan Police Department determined Fuller lied and fired him that year.

On Thursday, Fuller said he had forgotten what he had written about a report submitted years earlier. He was a police officer for 18 years and said he wants to return to law enforcement.

The council’s investigators recommended Fuller’s certification be permanently revoked, but the council opted to issue the four-year suspension instead.

Steven Harlow was fired by the Blanding Police Department in 2017, but the council still had to decide what to do about his law enforcement certification. Council staff said Harlow lied to investigators about a relationship he had with a 17-year-old nanny. Harlow initially denied any physical relationship with the nanny but later admitted kissing her.

It also was discovered during the investigation that Harlow had sex with his wife while he was on duty at Blanding’s police headquarters. Thursday, Harlow explained his wife had ridden on patrol with him that night and the sex was behind closed doors in his office.

“We kid ourselves,” Harlow said in his defense, “when we say we don’t have officers who have sex on duty with their wives. I think we just don’t hear about it.”

Council members voted to revoke Harlow’s certification.

Other peace officers disciplined Thursday:

• Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, Martha Alejandra-Gonzalez, one-year suspension for driving under the influence.

• South Salt Lake police, Swen Heimberg, six-month suspension for misusing a police database.

• Utah Valley University police, Bryan Cunningham, 18-month suspension for falsification of a government record

The council also took action against a cadet, Scott Garrett. He received a two-year suspension for falsifying his application to become an officer. The council revoked the certification of Londo Palomin, who was qualified as a peace officer but was not employed as one, for falsifying information and lying.

The council issued an indefinite suspension to Morgan Swensen, of Grantsville police, over concerns about his fitness for duty. The council closed the meeting to reporters and the public as members discussed Swensen’s case.

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