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Statement: DA Begins Investigation of Danielle Willard Incident, FBI assists

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Posted at 4:10 PM, Apr 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-03 18:12:05-04

The following is a statement released by the office of Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill:

Last week (April 27 and 28), the West Valley Police Department gave its initial presentation to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office of the investigation of the officer involved shooting death of Danielle Willard. The District Attorney’s office has begun its process of reviewing the materials and investigating the matter further as appropriate and as the due diligence of the office and issues require. The District Attorney’s office thanks West Valley Police Detective Greco and Detective Dowland and all those who assisted for a very thorough presentation. The District Attorney’s office has received numerous calls and understands the vast community interest in the officer involved shooting and the West Valley Police Department.

The District Attorney’s Office strives to honor its obligations to the individuals, families, agencies and the community. Among its obligations are those to ensure a fair and transparent process to everyone involved. Enlisting the assistance of an outside agency helps the District Attorney’s Office fulfill these obligations. To this end, the District Attorney’s Office is dealing with three distinct but overlapping issues.

The first issue concerns the officer involved shooting. The DA’s office has requested and the FBI has agreed to assist in reviewing any collateral issues related to the officer involved shooting. It is our understanding that West Valley City Police Department was made aware and is supportive of this.

The second issue regards the potential criminal violations which a West Valley Police detective may have committed and is currently under investigation by the Salt Lake City Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Sim Gill has spoken to Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank and he is aware that the FBI will be assisting the ongoing joint criminal investigation.

The third issue involves the potential widening of the scope of allegations of potential criminal wrongdoing by the West Valley Police Department Neighborhood Narcotics Unit. The District Attorney has requested the assistance of the FBI; they have agreed to assist.

The District Attorney’s Office requested the FBI’s assistance in an effort to address any issues regarding the investigations’ transparency and integrity to law enforcement, the investigative process and the community.

The District Attorney’s Office acknowledges the many good men and women who serve with honor and professionalism at West Valley Police Department; any allegations of wrong doing by one or some should not taint the honorable daily actions of the many fine men and women at West Valley Police Department and law enforcement agencies in the valley.

The District Attorney has a similar obligation to ensure a fair and transparent process to the ongoing concerns of the community and expectations of our citizens. For these reasons, the District Attorney has asked for the assistance of an outside agency, the FBI, to ensure a fair process regardless of whatever the outcome may be.