A federal judge has rejected a request by the border town of Colorado City, Ariz., to dismiss a consultant providing some oversight over the community's beleagured police force.
In a ruling handed down on Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Russell Holland rejected Colorado City's request.
"The court concludes that there are no changed circumstances which would justify the court in dispensing with the requirement that the defendants engage a police consultant. There is plainly a continuing need for the services of the Consultant as regards the hiring and training of CCMO [Colorado City Marshal's Office] staff, the review of CCMO policies and procedures, and the investigation of complaints involving the CCMO," he wrote.
FOX 13 first reported earlier this month that Colorado City asked the judge to dismiss the consultant, arguing that he had completed his tasks and it was an ongoing expense taxpayers shouldn't have to pay. The U.S. Department of Justice and a court-appointed monitor objected, arguing that town officials "tolerated" court orders and that while government in Hildale, Utah, had changed — Colorado City was slow to reform.
The case has roots in a lawsuit filed by the federal government against both Hildale and Colorado City, accusing the town governments of discriminating against people who weren't members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church. The Colorado City Marshal's Office, which serves both communities, was accused of acting as agents of imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. A jury ruled against the community and court oversight was ordered to institute changes.
"Community healing is primarily a need of the Town as a whole. While the court is satisfied that significant progress has been made, [the court-appointed monitor's] response to the Town’s motion underscores the court’s conclusion that there is considerable work yet to be done with the guidance and assistance of the Monitor," Judge Holland wrote. "It is the court’s perception that the role of a police consultant can, at this point, be justifiably reduced considerably, but not ended. The Town’s motion to modify the court’s judgment and decree is denied."