Utah’s police certifying agency disciplined police officers and talked about the coronavirus at its meeting Thursday.
Director Scott Stephenson told the Peace Officer Standard and Training (POST) council members Thursday that they are pushing to get recruits trained, working extra hours and using online courses so new officers can hit the streets.
And for those who are just beginning the certification process, Stephenson said they have shifted all of the coursework online — but social distancing means only so many can take the physical tests at the same time.
State officials’ request to refrain from gathering in large groups didn’t stop police regulators from doling out discipline on Thursday. Ten police officers were punished during the quarterly meeting, which was held via a telephone conference rather than in-person. Here’s who was disciplined:
• Neil Anderson’s certification was revoked after regulators say he lied about consuming a sucker laced with marijuana and stealing a television during the application process with the Utah Department of Corrections. He had a previous disciplinary history with POST.
• Department of Corrections Officer Jordan Bradford’s certification was suspended for six months after he provided an inmate with a toothbrush and watched as the inmate sharpened it to make a shank. He threw it in the garbage can, and told regulators Thursday that he gave the inmate the toothbrush to learn how they were manufacturing weapons in prison.
"I made a mistake," he told the council before the discipline was handed down.
• Silver Brown, who is currently employed by Brigham Young University’s police department, had his certification suspended for 3.5 years after regulators say he falsified records by claiming he worked hours that he didn’t and then lied about it while employed by the Utah Highway Patrol. On Thursday, he maintained that it was a mix-up, and he didn’t intend to lie about the hours he worked.
“I can’t honestly say I mixed up the details,” he said. “I was trying to pull [memories] from months earlier, and that’s the honest truth.”
• Former Syracuse Police Officer Sean Fox was suspended for 2.5 years after reporting to his employer that he had never been disciplined in past jobs, when he had received verbal and written warnings in the past.
• Joseph Haws, who worked for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, was suspended for nine months after he said he had booked items into evidence when he didn’t. When he later found those items — a coin in one case, and a woman’s necklace in another — in his patrol car, he threw them in the trash.
"It was a mistake," he said Thursday. "I feel like I'm a good cop and I love my job."
• Roger Hill, formerly with Tooele County Sheriff’s Office, was given a 2.5 year suspension after police were called to his home after he had an argument with his wife and they found illegal steroids. He told investigators that he had been injecting himself with the steroids to prepare for a body-building competition.
• Charles Hoffman, who had been employed with the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, had his certification revoked for lying about speaking to officers from another police agency about a case that had been moved from his department to theirs to avoid a conflict of interest.
• James Houghtalen, with the Utah Constable Services, had his license revoked for lying about an incident where he flashed his badge at a passing vehicle and told them to slow down and that he was watching them. He denied ever showing the car his badge, but the people in the other vehicle said he did.
• Kyle Maddox, with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, had his license suspended for three years after lying about eating marijuana edibles and smoking a joint during a New Year’s party. He initially said the he had put the joint to his lips, but didn’t inhale it — but later said that he did inhale the smoke.
"I made a mistake," he said Thursday. "It was never with the intent to lie. That was the only time I've ever used marijuana and I don't know how to describe smoking or inhaling it."
• Benjamin Wolford, with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, had his license suspended for 1.5 years after falsifying meal allowance forms.