Fired UHP trooper apologizes, wants job back
Thursday , June 06, 2013 - 9:45 AM
SALT LAKE CITY -- A former Utah state trooper who was fired and is facing a major lawsuit amid allegations she booked dozens of people for bogus DUIs apologized Tuesday as she asked for her job back.
Former Utah Highway Trooper Lisa Steed acknowledged her mistakes during an employment hearing at the Utah state Capitol, asking an administrative judge to reinstate her.
"I know I have the dings against me," Steed said according to newspaper. "I screwed up, I deserve it."
Her former employer countered that her arrest should be upheld. Assistant Attorney General Yvette Donosso said Steed cut corners and demonstrated a pattern of "deception and dishonesty."
The judge is expected to decide in July if the firing was warranted.
Steed racked up hundreds of DUI arrests on her way to becoming the first woman to become state trooper of the year in 2007. But her credibility came into question in the following years. She was fired in November, accused of violating department policies, falsifying police reports and using questionable practices when making DUI arrests.
She - and her former superiors - are facing a lawsuit in which some of those she arrested allege she filed bogus DUI reports. The 49-page lawsuit includes two defendants, but attorney Michael Studebaker said dozens of others are lined up and willing to tell their stories. The lawsuit may be broadened into a class action lawsuit.
Speaking publicly for the first time since her firing, Steed asked for a second chance.
"It's all I've done," Steed said according to The Salt Lake Tribune. "I loved my job."
Several current and former troopers spoke on her behalf during the hearing. They called her a hard worker and said her honesty and credibility should not be questioned.
"She's the best trooper I've ever known in 17 years," said Trooper Kim Farnsworth, who was Steed's supervisor for a time and also is Steed's roommate, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The mistakes made by Steed, however, negated all the good work she had done previously, Donosso said.
Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings said Steed's lack of credibility has led to seven of her cases being dismissed and two convictions being reversed. Convictions in eight other cases may also be overturned, he said.
Rawlings said his office no longer takes any Steed cases to trial unless they can find independent evidence such as video, audio or other witnesses to back her account.
"She'd get killed on cross examination," Rawlings said. "If we could use her as a potted plant, we'd file cases."