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Officer’s firing reveals more issues with Ogden PD ticketing policy

Posted at 9:41 PM, Oct 06, 2023

OGDEN, Utah — A former officer with the Ogden Police Department said he was fired after being pressured to write more tickets. Now he’s fighting to get his job back.

Lawmakers say the case continues to expose problems with Ogden PD’s “illegal police quota.”

Mark Krueger was terminated from Ogden PD on June 24, 2022.

The department said Krueger admitted he doesn’t like writing tickets, so he would wait until the end of the year to meet expectations.

Both sides met at a hearing before Ogden’s Public Safety Employee Appeal Board on September 18, 2023.

“(Krueger) likes to wait until the very end of the year to get all of his numbers and stats,” said Deputy Chief Jake Sube. “Do we technically have something that says you can’t do that? No, but what we would expect as a police department is officers spending every day serving the community equally.”

State lawmakers banned ticket quotas in 2018, but Ogden PD believes there is nothing illegal about its “point system,” which gives more “points” to officers when they write more tickets.

Krueger’s annual performance reviews show he met or exceeded expectations each year.

“You can go back through every single one of my evaluations,” he said. “I’m praised for those.”

Ogden PD said Krueger’s annual numbers are not necessarily why they fired Krueger.

The department said, in one case, Krueger did not activate his body camera.

Krueger said the mistake only occurred one time out of thousands of calls in his Ogden PD career.

“You have never fired an employee for not wearing a bodycam on one call, right?” asked Krueger’s attorney.

“Not that I’m aware of,” responded Chief Eric Young.

In another case, Ogden PD cited Krueger for unprofessional behavior because of the way he chose to take reports outside of a hospital, in the parking lot, instead of going inside.

“I just can’t understand why this was all taking place in the parking lot,” Chief Young said. “The victim is inside. The suspect is inside. The witnesses are inside. The doctor is inside. Everything. The (surveillance) video is inside. Nothing is outside... So, yeah, it seems unprofessional to be doing all this out in the parking lot.”

The department said it believes Krueger did not want to go inside the hospital because he didn’t want to wear a mask, although Krueger has never faced such a complaint before or after this incident.

Krueger said he chose to stay outside of the hospital to respect patient privacy.

Chief Young said his biggest concern was the amount of time Krueger’s car was parked at his house when he was supposed to be patrolling.

In response, Krueger said he was writing reports and that he got permission to do so from his sergeant.

“I went through my chain of command,” Krueger said.

“But you will admit that you were parked at your house for over 200 minutes on six days, beyond your authorized break?” asked an attorney for Ogden PD.

“I don’t deny that,” Krueger said.

The sergeant was never consulted before the decision to terminate Krueger’s employment, and he did not testify at the hearing.

“This feels like more of a narrative that they’re trying to make fit, rather than actually find the truth to,” Krueger said, “because there are simple, easy steps to get to the truth.”

Krueger said evidence shows he always responded to calls quickly and that he received commendations for the work he completed from home. Krueger lived within his assigned patrol area.

“When you asked [Krueger] about spending time at home, you indicated there was no policy that says you can’t spend time at home, right?” asked Krueger’s attorney.

“I believe so,” responded Lt. Cameron Stiver. “I believe I might have said that in my interview with him.”

“There’s not a specific description of what it means to ‘patrol’ your area, but I’m quite confident that if you asked all my employees, none of them would say it would be sitting in their driveway,” said Chief Young.

Krueger said he was informed on Thursday that the city has chosen to not reverse Ogden PD’s decision.

He said he plans to appeal.

After his termination, Krueger was hired by the Roy Police Department.

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