MOAB, Utah — Moab will seek a new police chief.
The current chief, Bret Edge, returned to work Monday after about four months of leave.
“The City understands that the community has concerns about the police department,” a Tuesday news release from the city said, “and after the mayor and the acting city manager met with Chief Edge it was determined that at this time he will serve in the position in a transitional role and the City will be seeking alternative leadership.”
A city spokeswoman said a search will begin as soon as Moab can advertise the position. Edge will remain with the department in the meantime.
The spokeswoman said no city officials were available for comment.
Edge began his law enforcement career in Moab in 2006. He was promoted to police chief in 2019.
Edge’s time away under the Family and Medical Leave Act was well publicized. Moab announced it in late September — days after the city released video of two of Edge’s subordinates investigating Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie for a domestic altercation.
Petito was later found strangled in Wyoming. Laundrie died by suicide in Florida. A review of the of the domestic violence investigation, released earlier this month, found the officers did not follow the law when they decided to not cite or arrest Petito and that other mistakes were made.
Petito and Laundrie drove through the tourist destination in the same year as one Moab officer resigned following an investigation into a police report that didn’t match the video.
Also in 2021, a judge dismissed a misdemeanor child abuse case — and threatened to toss future cases — because Moab officers didn’t properly record it with cameras, and another Moab officer ended his employment by going on a countywide radio channel and calling the assistant chief a vulgar term.
Edge has worked as a photographer for years. Utah State Parks has hired his company at least six times over the years. Grand County has hired it at least once. The government work has added to about $8,500.
But Edge was using his time away from the city to tweet about his photo business and his travels in southern Utah and northern Arizona. At least two of his tweets discussed e-guides sold on his website for $25.
On Nov. 8, Edge’s Twitter account posted a photo of someone wrapped in a blanket holding a dog while sitting on slickrock.
“Did a really fun shoot for @voitedbrand tonite,” the tweet said. Voited makes outdoor blankets and apparel.
The Twitter account promotes Edge’s work as a photographer. But on the day of that tweet, according to payroll records, Edge was collecting sick pay from his day job as Moab’s police chief. In all, the city paid Edge $192,497 in salary and benefits in 2021.
A FOX 13 review of public records and Edge’s own social media posts show how he spent time on his leave from the city to promote his business, which has been incorporated as Bret Edge Photography.
There are records Moab doesn’t have, too. City policies require employees to declare what’s called “outside employment.” Yet, in response to a FOX 13 public records request, city staff said Edge had never filed such paperwork, nor did he ask to work another job while on leave.
The employee handbook also reads, “Employees who have accepted outside employment may not use city paid sick leave to perform work on the outside job.”