Sam Brower, the private detective who has pursued the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is using his experience working with law enforcement as a platform to run for a seat on the Iron County Commission.
Brower is one of three candidates competing in the June 28 Republican primary. Incumbent Alma Adams and former sheriff's deputy Jody Edwards also have filed to run. Wayne Hall has filed to run on the Libertarian ticket, and Kenneth L. Bauer is a candidate for the Constitution Party, according to the county clerk.
It will be the first time Brower has sought office. In an interview Wednesday, he said he is unhappy with divisions he sees within Iron County government, divisions he says manifested themselves in a dispute over county ambulance services.
"There's always been this real strong sense of community and people coming together," Brower said, "and it's just kind of drifting apart."
The County Commission last year voted to sell its ambulance service to Gold Cross. That led to the termination of Edwards, who was the county's ambulance director under the auspices of the sheriff's office.
Edwards appealed. A state court judge ordered him reinstated and that the county must pay back wages. Edwards went back to work within the sheriff's office, then he resigned three months later.
Brower said county employees feel slighted. He said he wants to get county departments to work well together. To do so, he said, he would apply his experience of spurring government agencies to cooperate in investigating the FLDS.
Re-electing Adams would mean continuing the status quo, Brower said. He contends that electing Edwards will further the animosity between the commissioners and the employees.
Adams considers selling the ambulance service to be a success. When the county ran the ambulance service, it lost money.
"We just, being fiscal conservatives, couldn't allow that any longer," Adams said Wednesday.
Edwards said working for the sheriff's office for 23 years gives him a unique perspective on county government.
"I know it from the inside out," Edwards said.
He also contended that his work with that office gives him more name recognition than Brower.
Brower, his wife and their children moved to Cedar City about 25 years ago. In 2004, Brower began investigating the FLDS. He has worked as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Labor and lobbied the FBI to put FLDS President Warren Jeffs on its most-wanted list in 2006.
Jeffs was captured that year. He is in a Texas prison, serving a sentence of life plus 20 years for crimes related to sexually abusing girls he purported to marry.
Brower is the author of a book about Jeffs, called "Prophet's Prey." In 2015, it was turned into a documentary film of the same name.