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Several Utah law enforcement agencies admonish Iron County Attorney

Posted at 11:13 AM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 13:14:16-05

PAROWAN, Utah — Sheriffs and Police Chiefs from eight Utah law enforcement agencies jointly sent a letter to Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett last month in which they requested a meeting with Garrett to address several concerns.

In the letter, which is dated February 13 and obtained by FOX 13 on March 9, law enforcement officials from Iron, Garfield and Beaver Counties accuse Garrett of being “unable to keep [his] personal feelings, prejudices, and animosities from impairing [his] judgement (sic).”

Iron County Sheriff Mark O. Gower, Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel, Cedar City Police Chief Darin M. Adams, Enoch City Police Chief Jackson Ames, Brian Head Marshal’s Office Chief Dan Benson, Parowan Police Chief Ken Carpenter and Southern Utah University Acting Police Chief Joshua Neilson co-signed the letter.

Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins’ name is printed on the letter among the co-signers’ names, but his signature is not present.

“The myriad of circumstances, which have occurred over the past many months and years, have unfortunately left us with no other recourse. It is our collective belief that your ability to effectively, fairly, and appropriately administer the duties of the office of Iron County Attorney are impaired and potentially ineffective,” the letter states.

The co-signers listed the following reasons for requesting a meeting with Garrett. [Please note these are directly transcribed from the letter.]

  • A lack of true leadership, poor policy decisions and mismanagement, which have damaged the important and critical relationships between the Iron County Attorney’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies.
  • Vindictive behavior towards (sic) members of law enforcement with a display of hostility, retaliation and arrogance.
  • A lack of trust and confidence in your ability to review, and prosecute cases without bias; and law enforcement’s subsequent unwillingness to work with you, which has been conveyed to us by many from our collective group of agencies.
  • A comprehensive lack of properly preparing for court, not adequately working officers before trial and a lack of proper and effective communication.
  • Vindictive, retaliatory behavior, and poor management causing a decrease in morale and adversely affecting the retention of qualified, dedicated, and committed personnel withing the Iron County Attorney’s Office.
  • The very concerning and questionable termination of Chief Deputy Iron County Attorney Troy Little, citing specific causes only to rescind the termination and rehire him. This entire situation has given law enforcement the impression that your decision making is based on animosities and politics rather than on principle.
  • Concerns expressed by officers and deputies causing them to seek advice and contact other Iron County Attorney’s when you are on-call.
  • The repeated attempts and threats to criminally charge local law enforcement officers and / or designate them as “Brady cops.”
  • The filing of hostile work environment claims by most of your staff.
  • Possibly violating the Hatch act by pressing or influencing members of your staff to obtain signatures from the public as part of your re-election campaign.

“The aforementioned issues are reflective of the concerns we have, which necessitate timely attention. It is our sincere desire to meet with you in person in a collaborative effort to resolve these issues and create an amicable path moving forward,” the letter states.

Several law enforcement personnel issued  another letter Friday in response to the publication of the initial letter. Signatories included Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower, Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams, Parowan Police Chief Ken Carpenter, Enoch Police Chief Jackson Ames, Brian Head Public Safety Chief Dan Benson and SUU PD Acting Chief Joshua Neilson:

“As Iron County law enforcement administrators, we had the opportunity to meet with Scott Garrett on Friday, March 2 regarding collective concerns we shared about Mr. Garrett. The meeting was productive and Mr. Garrett was open and receptive to our concerns.

The letter that was sent to Mr. Garrett was intended to be for his eyes only. Our sincere intention was to allow him the opportunity to meet with us and openly communicate in a concerted effort to resolve our concerns, and create a mutually-beneficial path and productive working relationship moving forward. This letter was never intended to be released to anyone, other than Mr. Garrett. This was not meant to be a political statement and we are concerned with the release of this letter.

We have been working on a follow-up letter to Mr. Garrett outlining our path forward, which reveals that we have addressed the issues contained in the letter and have a plan moving forward to enhance communication and positively deal with any concerns that may arise.”

Scott Garrett also released a statement Friday through his attorney:

The letter Garrett sent in response to the February 13 letter is embedded below:

Scott Garrett responds to letter from law enforcement by kstumarkgreen on Scribd

[Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins signed the letter.]