Mantua mayor resigns after firing police chief

The former chief says he was dismissed because he didn’t write enough traffic tickets.

(Photo courtesy of Maddie Phillips) A sign welcomes people to Mantua, as seen on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

After a whirlwind month in which Mantua’s police chief was fired and five officers quit, the town’s mayor has resigned.

Former Mayor Michael Johnson dismissed former Police Chief Michael Castro on March 25 after Castro refused to sign a notice putting his employment on probation, according to FOX 13.

The probation notice accuses Castro of not answering calls for service or enforcing parking ordinances, but he denies the allegations and told FOX 13 in an interview that he believes he was fired for not writing enough speeding tickets to drivers passing through the Box Elder County town.

And an officer who quit at the end of March, Cpl. Bret Bergstrom, said in his resignation letter that elected officials in the town repeatedly asked police to sit on the highway and write citations to people traveling through.

Mantua has had a reputation as a speed trap, even spurring a state senator in 2016 to introduce legislation capping how much money towns could make from speeding fines.

“My hope is that the divisiveness in the town will now stop and healing will begin, and Mantua will once again become the great town we moved into many years ago,” former mayor Johnson wrote in his resignation letter, which was posted Monday on the town’s Facebook page.

One of Johnson’s last acts as mayor was to name a new police chief. Craig Hamer was sworn in as Mantua’s new chief on Monday, according to another post on that Facebook page.

Read more at FOX 13.

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13 are content-sharing partners.

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