SW 040518 GENERIC ART WEBER SHERIFF VEHICLE 01

A Weber County Sheriff's Vehicle is shown here Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Ogden.

If Kevin Burns wants to do what’s best for Weber County, he’ll withdraw as a candidate for sheriff.

And if he doesn’t, county Republicans need to make sure he doesn’t appear on the November ballot.

Burns lost his job because of a crisis in the evidence room at the sheriff’s office.

  • RELATED: “Weber County Sheriff candidate fired after evidence room audit shows violations”

On Dec. 8, someone found a technician intoxicated in the evidence room. Tests found she was high on methamphetamine.

Later, she admitted that she’d used meth from 15 to 20 criminal case files. Sheriff Terry Thompson fired her, effective Jan. 12.

Burns supervised the evidence room at the time of her drug use. The sheriff rewarded him with a promotion to chief corrections deputy.

Thompson announced Jan. 11 that he would not seek a third term, prompting Burns to file as a Republican candidate for sheriff.

Then a funny thing happened. Thompson released a statement Monday night that as a result of an internal investigation, “the supervisor’s employment with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office has ended.”

Burns repeatedly failed to act on complaints by detectives, deputies, crime scene technicians, and prosecutors about the evidence room, according to the news release.

His infractions included “neglect of duty, failure to supervise, failure to report incompetent work, omitting information and failure to report information to a supervisor, failure to report misconduct by an employee, failure to report damage to the evidence room and disparaging remarks about fellow staff.”

Burns, reached Tuesday, said he had retired, retained an attorney and eventually planned to discuss the details surrounding his departure.

But in the meantime, he’s still running for sheriff.

  • RELATED: “Weber Sheriff's candidate stays in race despite losing job with sheriff's office”

“The campaign is moving forward,” Burns told Mark Shenefelt, a reporter for the Standard-Examiner.

That’s a mistake.

At least 24 prisoners died in the Weber County Jail between 2005 and 2017 — the second highest total in Utah, behind Salt Lake County. As a result, the county faces two expensive lawsuits filed by families of prisoners who died in 2016.

  • RELATED: “System-wide shortfalls lead to high rate of Utah jail deaths”

This is not the time to even consider a candidate who contributed to the turmoil in the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.

Burns chose not to collect signatures, meaning he won’t appear on the June primary ballot unless he wins the nomination Saturday at the county’s Republican convention.

Delegates can end his candidacy there, and they should if Burns refuses to withdraw from the race beforehand.

Perhaps he can make his case as a legitimate candidate in 2022. But right now, Burns would only detract from a vital discussion of reforms necessary in the sheriff’s office.

If he wants to do what’s best for Weber County, he’ll end his campaign.

(8) comments

dpfan

They said he would be fired because of a previous incident with more heinous results. Many former officers know of what happened domestically.Burns, MacInnes, Bell, and Smith do not belong anywhere near the Sheriffs Office seat. The office as a whole needs to be audited. They need to find out why deputies didn't get the raises they were promised and why the shady dealings keep happening. They are all as guilty in the administration as the county commissioners have been.

kerrywayne

Ever since this evidence room story broke, there has been more questions raised than answered.  The “under investigation” excuse runs pretty thin, when there is a reported confession by the suspect.  The selective silence by the Sheriff’s Department should perk up the ears of any good reporter.  Something’s not right here and it’s time for a little investigative reporting.

awhite13

We can agree that there is definitely corruption there! If this isn't political, why were delegates told  weeks ago not to vote for Kevin because he'll be fired. By another parties campaigners? Especially if this is still an investigation? No charges or anything. Where we disagree is with our position on if he is qualified or not. He definitely is qualified. He has been in the force for over two decades has helped organize many volunteer programs and lead the GOAL foundation for an outstanding time. Kevin knows the people of Weber County. As well as the inner workings of the sheriff's department. He knows how incredibly important all of this is, which is why he will not drop out of this race. He deserves to be here and it is a shame people are buying into the very corruption causing this situation. 

dpfan

He is not qualified. He has never even worked the corrections side of the Sheriff's office. He took a class on management. He was appointed by a corrupt Sheriff, who is now backing a corrupt ex commissioner. I would tell anyone in Weber County to not vote a former or current WCSO employee. It needs to be audited to find why they have mismanaged funding and anything else.

awhite13

This is absolutely asinine. Kevin is not responsible for the unnamed woman's actions. He did make moves. He did not sit idle. There are many facets of this is CAN NOT be discussed because it is an OPEN INVESTIGATION looking into ACCUSATIONS!Whis is this man the only one deemed at fault for this woman? Who he was only supervisor of for 17 months on paper, and actually directly over for only 14 months? 3 of which he was at the FBI Academy for training? She's been and employee since 2002, surely this was just someone trying to 'pass the buck' or simply trying to say ' not my problem anymore!'Kevin is more than highly qualified. He would be an exemplary addition to the sheriff's seat. And that scares people with big money

billie

Absolutely agree with this. Kerry Wayne, you are spot on with your comments.

kerrywayne

I fully agree with the Standard’s call for Mr. Burns to step aside based on his past performance.  Although,the Weber County Sheriff’s Department is still getting a pass on its performance.  After four months, I have yet to see an article reporting that the evidence room technician has been named or charged.  For the rest of us mere mortals, you’re arrested and charged for stealing a candy bar.  One has to wonder if there is a personal or family relationship impeding the wheels of justice here.  Just like Mr. Burn’s story, your readers deserve the spotlight of truth to shine across the entire Sheriff’s Department.    

anonymous

We are actually working very hard on figuring that out. We have asked why the evidence tech has not been charged and we've been told there's still an investigation. That means the Sheriff's office, the county attorney's office and anyone else involved in the investigation can *choose* to withhold information from us until the investigation is over. So unless there are people willing to come forward and clear the air — Kevin Burns and his cohort included — we can only go on what we are given. Investigative reporting is happening, but it is often slow-going to get to the truth. But for now, as the old saying goes, don't shoot the messenger.Anne ChristnovichManaging editor

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.