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Officers from WVC PD’s narcotics unit placed on paid leave

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Posted at 8:08 PM, Apr 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-18 21:19:58-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - The West Valley City Police Department has placed the members of its former Neighborhood Narcotics Unit on paid administrative leave.

According to a news release from the West Valley City Police Dept., the two supervisors and five remaining detectives from the unit have now been placed on administrative leave.

According to the release, the officers involved are Lieutenant John Coyle, Sergeant Michael Johnson, Detective Ricardo Franco, Detective Sean McCarthy, Detective Rafael Frausto, Detective Chris Smith and Detective Barbara Lund.

They join Detectives Shaun Cowley and Kevin Salmon, who were already on paid leave in connection with the Nov. 2 shooting death of Danielle Willard.

The move comes after nearly 100 cases connected to the unit were dropped by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office because of problems with evidence.

An internal investigation into the narcotics unit found multiple problems, including mishandled evidence, missing drugs and guns and misuse of confidential sources. The unit was disbanded in December.

Local and federal authorities are also conducting an external investigation into the department.

The release says that the officers have been placed on leave because of normal internal procedures when officers are under investigation. It says the officers have been cooperative with the investigation.

The full statement:

As part of the ongoing process regarding the investigation into the West Valley City Police Department’s Neighborhood Narcotics Unit, Police Administration has placed personnel previously assigned to the unit on paid administrative leave.

This includes two supervisors and five detectives: Lieutenant John Coyle, Sergeant Michael Johnson, Detective Ricardo Franco, Detective Sean McCarthy, Detective Rafael Frausto, Detective Chris Smith and Detective Barbara Lund.

The supervisors and detectives have been and continue to be completely cooperative with the investigation as the process moves forward. This action is in accordance with our normal internal procedures.