Council punishes 6 Northern Utah police officers for misconduct

Tuesday , April 18, 2017 - 2:51 PM1 comment

MARK SHENEFELT, Standard-Examiner Staff

Six Northern Utah law enforcement officers were sanctioned by the state certification board recently for offenses including theft, child abuse, lying about a car crash, consuming marijuana and misusing authority to investigate infidelity.

All six officers have lost or left those jobs since the incidents.

RELATED: State revokes fired Harrisville officer's police certification after plea deal 

Roy Police Department officer Kenneth Chase Parker pocketed $50 from an arcade machine door during a burglary investigation at a convenience store, the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council said in voting to suspend his license for 2 ½ years.

Parker’s case was one of 16 police and prison guard misconduct cases addressed by the council at its March 30 quarterly meeting. 

Assistant Attorney General Marcus Yockey told the council that a fellow officer noticed the money missing and asked Parker about it. Parker later put the money back in the machine, and during an internal investigation he admitted pocketing the money and contemplated stealing it, Yockey said.

The March 22, 2016, theft was seen on store surveillance video and on Parker’s body-camera recordings, Yockey said.

Court records show Parker, 27, pleaded no contest to class B misdemeanor theft. On Oct. 13, Justice Court Judge Catherine Hoskins fined Parker $680 and ordered him to serve a year of probation.

Yockey said Parker resigned from the Roy police force July 12.

Officers in Layton and Morgan County were punished for alleged abuse of police authority.

Layton Police Department Sgt. Roderick Dixon was on duty March 21, 2015, when he spotted his girlfriend’s car at a hotel. Yockey said Dixon told a clerk he needed access to a room on police business. As the clerk was unlocking the door, a man inside was calling 911 to report police harassment.

Yockey said Dixon’s actions could have resulted in a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. “Dixon did own up to it and did inform the two parties in the room that they could press charges,” Yockey said.

The council suspended Dixon’s license for a year. The officer was demoted to desk duty and later retired, Yockey said.

Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robin Taylor had his license suspended for a year. Yockey said Taylor admitted repeatedly and improperly accessing the state Bureau of Criminal Identification database in 2014, “looking for addresses of those he suspected were doing something with his wife.”

The council issued sanctions against three Northern Utah peace officers after its December 2016 meeting:

    • Todd G. Christensen, Weber County Sheriff’s Office, received a nine-month license suspension for hitting his 7-year-old son on the forehead in November 2015, causing swelling and bruising. The injury was reported by school officials and checked into by a state caseworker.

      Christensen pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct infraction. The county human services office said Monday that Christensen, who was a court security officer, left county employment Jan. 3, 2017.

    • Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tein Hawke disclosed to his supervisor that he had smoked marijuana and consumed edibles containing marijuana during a vacation to Colorado, where marijuana use is legal, in July 2016. The POST staff recommended a two-year license suspension, which the council approved. Hawke’s employment was terminated Sept. 1, 2016.

    • Brigham City Police Department officer Matthew O’Brien lied to law enforcement officers during a car crash investigation, the council reported in approving a three-year license suspension.

      On July 13, 2016, O’Brien was investigated by his agency for obstruction of justice, and fired the same day, POST documents show. After the crash, O’Brien told investigating officers he had loaned the vehicle to a friend who crashed it. O’Brien later admitted he lied because he knew his wife was intoxicated and he did not want her to get arrested for driving under the influence.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt and like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SEmarkshenefelt.

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