Unified Police detective charged with misusing public money

Posted at 12:50 PM, Mar 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-20 23:31:18-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah - A Unified Police detective is facing charges for allegedly misusing public money.

According to Unified Police, authorities discovered Detective Kenneth Callahan's records were not accurate during a routine random audit of money narcotics detectives use during their investigations.

Officers said that money is typically used to purchase drugs during the narcotics investigations.

The Unified Police Department is handling the internal audit and Salt Lake City police are investigating the misuse of public funds.

Investigators said they found fewer than 10 records showing Det. Callahan received money to purchase controlled substances from October 2013 to January 2015. However, during that same time period, officials discovered 46 occasions where Callahan was given money and no controlled substances were logged in as evidence.

No money was ever returned to Unified Police in those 46 cases either. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said it isn't clear what the officer was doing with the funds.

“Whether he actually used the money for personal reasons or purchase of drugs, we will never know," Gill said.

Investigators said many of the cases weren't drug-related, and Callahan had also requested money to purchase controlled substances for cases that had been closed months before.

According to investigators, Callahan received almost $8,500 in those 46 cases.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office decided to charge Det. Callahan with felony misuse of public money and official misconduct, a misdemeanor.

Det. Callahan has been with Unified Police and the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office for 19 years. He has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Clayton Simms is a criminal defense attorney, and he said the issue could have ramifications for cases the detective was involved in.

"It could create problems for the police and the prosecution if they are just relying on that officer who's in trouble for the case,"  he said.

Gill addressed those concerns, “We have other evidence and other officers that can carry the integrity of that case forward.”