Sandy • Utah’s police regulators on Thursday had a long discussion on whether officers, who have finished their shifts, can have sex in a maintenance yard at a state park.
Two state park rangers admitted to having sex in a vehicle parked at the yard after they finished their shifts, thinking they weren’t violating the regulations forbidding peace officers from having sex on-duty at law enforcement facilities.
But an administrative law judge earlier this year ruled that since park rangers stored some of their gear at the maintenance yard, it constituted a law enforcement facility. So on Thursday, the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council deliberated whether Ranger Candace Tschogl deserved the 3½-year suspension typically doled out in sex-on-duty cases.
Tschogl, who appeared at the meeting, said being a park ranger was her dream job and she had been told any suspension longer than three months would lead to her firing.
She was single and the other park ranger was getting divorced, she said. She apologized for consuming the council’s time, but said she didn’t believe she had violated any rules.
“I never engaged in sexual activities with this man while on duty,” Tschogl said.
Some of the police chiefs and sheriffs on the council, drawing on their own experiences of trying to find city- or county-owned sheds to store cars and equipment, questioned whether a maintenance yard is really a law enforcement facility.
Meanwhile, Frank Budd — a former police officer, former president of Salt Lake Community College and a member of the council — argued this case wasn’t as severe as other episodes of sex-on-duty.
“We’ve had it in the chief’s office at 3 o’clock in the morning, in the back of police cars, in public parks,” Budd said. “This is not those circumstances.”
The council approved a three-month suspension for Tschogl. At the council meeting in June, the co-worker she had sex with, Christopher Smith, received a three-year suspension. In his case, investigators discovered he was on-duty at certain times he had sex with Tschogl.
The council issued a 2½-year suspension to Jason Whitehead, who was an agent for the State Bureau of Investigation when he was arrested in April in Garfield County on suspicion of drunken driving and having an open container. He eventually pleaded guilty to impaired driving, was fined $1,500 and sentenced to one year of probation.
Whitehead resigned from the bureau on May 8, according to a council report. He won’t be able to work as a police officer anywhere else in Utah until the suspension is complete.
Other discipline cases Thursday:
— Davis County Sheriff’s Office: Scott Manfull, 1½-year suspension for reckless burning.
— Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office: Jason Sabin, two-year suspension for providing medication to a jail inmate without authorization.
— Utah Department of Corrections: Neil Andersen, three-month suspension for wrongful appropriation.
— Carlos Arturo Gonzalez, who was not employed as a peace officer, still received a two-year suspension for lying on his application to the police academy.
Two other officers received letters of caution for accessing a police database for personal reasons.
At the end of the council meeting, Major Scott Stephenson, who oversees the state police academy in Sandy, let the police chiefs and sheriffs in the room know they will have to start funding or supplying the firearm ammunition for the recruits they send for training.
The academy spends $700 per cadet on ammunition, Stephenson said, and he is looking for ways to save money. The academy provides training to both recruits and veteran officers.