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Disgraced ex-UHP trooper apologizes for false DUI arrests

The former Utah Highway Patrol trooper who was fired after the public learned that many people she arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving were not intoxicated said she is taking responsibility for some "mistakes," to borrow the term used in the Salt Lake Tribune. However, the ex-trooper wants to return to the force and continue to testify in criminal trials, despite several judges questioning her credibility in the wake of an internal report written by UHP in 2010.

As we have discussed previously in this blog, the trooper was once named "Trooper of the Year," at least in part due to her making far more drinking and driving arrests than any other trooper, up to 400 per year. But the numbers that once impressed the department later led to questions about the trooper's methods.

UHP conducted an internal investigation in 2010. In a memo, investigators said that the trooper routinely arrested drivers who were not impaired by drugs or alcohol, including at least one case where the driver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.00. They also pointed to other instances where she attempted to conceal evidence or otherwise deviate from proper procedure during traffic stops. Despite these troubling findings, UHP allowed the trooper to continue to patrol until April 2012 and did not fire her until November, shortly after the memo became public.

Remarkably, the trooper is now attempting to get reinstated into the agency. She and an attorney from the Attorney General's office were in court in early June asking a judge to uphold or overturn her firing. The ex-trooper told the court in testimony that she has several "dings" on her record, including dubious DUI arrests and testimony found by at least four judges to be unreliable.

She even had several witnesses speak up on her behalf who described her as professional and an "excellent witness." Though the ex-trooper said she plans to testify in around 20 trials based on arrests she made, prosecutors told the court that they cannot pursue charges in those cases unless evidence independent of her claims can be found.

The judge is expected to rule on reinstating her into UHP in July at the earliest.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Fired UHP trooper admits mistakes, asks for job back," Janelle Stecklein, June 5, 2013


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