Perry officer accused of bribery attempt over friend's drunken driving arrest

Oct 8 2011 - 8:18am

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Daniel Kotter
Daniel Kotter

OGDEN -- A part-time Perry police officer is accused of trying to bribe a Utah Highway Patrol trooper after his friend was arrested in August for driving drunk.

A warrant to search the text messages of Daniel Kotter, 34, was issued Thursday in 3rd District Court, said Dwayne Baird, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.

Baird said subpoenas have also been issued by 2nd District Court for Kotter's telephone records.

Kotter was arrested Sept. 13 and booked into Davis County Jail on one count of tampering with a witness and two counts of bribery to influence official or political actions.

As of Friday, no formal charges had been filed in 2nd District Court, according to a check of the court's website.

Interim Perry Police Chief Dale Weese said Kotter was hired as a part-time police officer on July 20 and was placed on unpaid suspension on Sept. 15.

Baird said Kotter, who had been a Weber County sheriff's deputy, had his Peace Officers Standards and Training certification suspended July 7, 2008. It was reinstated Jan. 7, 2010.

Weber County Sheriff Chief Deputy Klint Anderson said Kotter worked for the sheriff's department for several years, first in corrections and then in the patrol division.

Kotter was fired from the sheriff's department as the result of an arrest in Harrisville for trespassing and disorderly conduct while off duty, Anderson said.

Kotter's current troubles, according to the search warrant affidavit, began Sept. 7 when he contacted a UHP trooper and talked to him about his friend, Matthew Scott Jones, who had been arrested for drunken driving.

Jones, a former Ogden police officer and Weber County sheriff's deputy, had refused to take a chemical test to determine the alcohol content in his body, according to the court document.

Kotter sent the trooper a text message saying, "they needed to talk and wanted to meet somewhere," according to the document.

When they met, Kotter offered the trooper $1,000 not to appear at the hearing for Jones.

The trooper then told Kotter that Jones' blood alcohol was 0.15, or nearly twice the legal limit. Jones then offered the trooper $2,500, calling it a "Christmas bonus," according to the document.

After a number of text messages and phone calls, the two met Sept. 13 on 21st Street in Ogden. Kotter gave the trooper $2,000 in cash in exchange for a promise not to show up to the hearing, according to the document.

If a police officer fails to show up at an individual's driver's license hearing, no action can be taken against the driver, according to state law.

When Kotter left, police arrested him and confiscated his cell phone, according to the document.

Jones was trying to get a job where he needed a commercial driver's license, according to the document.

UHP is still investigating the case. Baird said POST has not been notified of the case to date.

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