A Utah police officer has filed a federal whistleblower complaint against the City of Ephraim, Utah, and its city manager alleging he was targeted for retaliation after voicing concerns about the Police Chief’s alleged mishandling of hundreds of police reports.
Darren Pead was one of three officers who resigned from the five-member Ephraim Police Department after alleging that Police Chief Ron Rassmussen failed to complete hundreds of police reports, leaving scores of serious crimes to go “un-investigated,” the whistleblower complaint alleges, according to the Associated Press.
Officer Pead discovered the alleged problem after the police department switched to a method of completing police reports.
“The officers were having trouble implementing the new template, and, as such, officer Pead reviewed the chief’s and sergeant’s reports to determine how to use the template. Upon reviewing the chief’s reports, officer Pead realized that Chief Rasmussen had failed to fill out or complete hundreds of police reports, dating back to 2008,” the lawsuit states, according to the Deseret News.
The whistleblower lawsuit alleges that the alleged failures of the police chief to complete reports became “common knowledge” within the police department. “The types of calls that were not documented by the chief ranged from minor disturbances to domestic assaults and felony sexual assaults,” the complaint asserts, according to the Deseret News.
According to the AP, the un-investigated cases also include child abuse and missing persons. The whistleblower complaint claims the reports were cleared and classified as “miscellaneous.”
Officer Pead and fellow officers Larry Golding and Jared Hansen took their concerns to the Ephraim City Council. But when the city councilors failed to address the problem, the officers turned to the Utah Attorney General.
“We have lost all confidence in our chief and in the city officials that are responsible now for a coverup of epic proportions,” a letter the officers penned to the City Council stated.
Upon learning of the whistleblower complaint, Ephraim City Manager Brant Hanson “threatened to eliminate all personnel from the police department” and told the Utah Attorney General that “the officers needed to let the city ‘take care of itself,'” the lawsuit alleges.
The FBI investigated the whistleblower complaint and found that there was no criminal wrongdoing. However, the department’s mishandling of the cases leaves the city vulnerable to scores of potential lawsuits.
The city put Chief Rasmussen on administrative leave for five days but allowed him to return to work as chief, whereupon Officers Pead, Golding, and Hansen announced their “reluctant” resignations, the AP reported.
Officer Pead’s whistleblower complaint seeks unspecified damages, back pay, and benefits from the City of Ephraim and City Manager Brant Hanson. The lawsuit does not name Chief Rasmussen, who retired from the police department in September, as a defendant.