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Sheriff Jared Rigby voted out of consideration for powerful state position

Emails show he plans to file a lawsuit against the state
Sheriff Jared Rigby
Posted at 5:11 PM, Jan 31, 2023

SANDY, Utah — Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby is no longer being considered for a state-appointed position in charge of training and investigating officers throughout Utah.

Earlier this month, Rigby was just hours away from being sworn in as the director of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) until state leaders, including Governor Spencer Cox, learned more about a FOX 13 News investigation showing a video of Rigby in which he's accused of bullying and intimidating a Heber City police officer.

On Tuesday, members of POST Council (who initially recommended Rigby for the position) said they were no longer willing to move forward with the appointment.

NAACP President Jeanetta Williams made the motion to move on from Rigby. Chief Allen Swanson of the Layton Police Department seconded the motion.

The vote was near unanimous, with only Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis still supporting Rigby.

The council also voted to restart the search process for the POST Director position, to "start from the beginning."

"It’s in the best interest of the state to be able to move forward," said Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jess Anderson. "POST is the backbone of all law enforcement. It is such a critical area and an opportunity to be able to guide and lead."

FOX 13 News interviewed Rigby in December 2022 for more than 60 minutes. During that interview, he watched the "witness intimidation" video but said he could not answer questions about it.

According to a "selfie" video posted by Rigby weeks later, he said his statements were taken out of context and not meant to be threatening or intimidating.

As he left Tuesday's meeting, Rigby declined to comment.

"There's no animosity with Sheriff Rigby," Anderson said. "He's a good man. He does a fine job — a great job — up in Wasatch County... I was able to shake his hand and wish him well."

Scott Stephenson, who retired from the POST Director position last year, is now the executive director of Utah Fraternal Order of Police. He applauded POST Council for making the "correct decision" based on "reason and logic."

He also recognized investigative reporting by FOX 13 News for helping inform the public.

"If they read the news, then they can't ignore the work you've done," Stephenson said. "These are all educated individuals (on POST Council), and they're always aware of what's going on around them, and that involves reading news."

Prior to the vote, members of POST Council spent approximately three hours discussing Rigby's "character" during a closed session.

Anderson presented the results of a thorough DPS background check, but he said he could not disclose any of the details under Utah law.

One of the members of POST Council repeatedly asked Anderson if Rigby “cleared” the background investigation.

Anderson declined to answer publicly, stating only: “We are done with the background.”

"(We're now looking for) someone who has the utmost integrity, the ability to make good decisions and judgments, and also be impartial and unbiased in every which way," Anderson said. "We can’t allow for any eroding of that public trust."

According to an email sent by Rigby on January 11, 2023, he plans to file a lawsuit against the state for violating "hiring and employment laws."

Blake Hamilton, his attorney, declined to comment.

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