Former Utah police officer files whistleblower lawsuit
EPHRAIM, Utah (AP) — A police officer in a small Utah town who resigned in protest last summer after raising questions about the conduct of the former chief of the five-member department has filed a federal whistleblower complaint.
Darren Pead said in the lawsuit that he was targeted for retaliation after going public with allegations that former longtime Police Chief Ron Rassmussen failed to complete hundreds of police reports, leaving serious crimes “un-investigated”
The complaint was filed Tuesday against the city of Ephraim and City Manager Brant Hanson. He did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Thursday.
The lawsuit claims Pead discovered incomplete reports dating back to 2008 after the department switched to a new report-keeping system.
The reports documented calls about cases involving child abuse, missing persons and sexual assault, the Deseret News reported.
Pead also noticed a sergeant had “cleared” hundreds of Rasmussen’s blank reports and classified them as “miscellaneous” cases.
Pead, along with fellow officers Larry Golding and Jared Hansen, took his concerns to the Ephraim City Council. When nothing was done, they went to the Utah Attorney General.
When Hanson learned of their complaint, he “threatened to eliminate all personnel from the police department because the officers had ‘elevated’ the problem by contacting the (attorney general’s) office, and stated that the officers needed to let the city ‘take care of itself,’” the lawsuit states.
An investigation found that Rasmussen’s conduct was not criminal but did open the door for possible lawsuits against the city.
Rasmussen was placed on administrative leave for five days but allowed to come back to the department as chief. When he returned in June, Pead, Golding and Hansen announced their “reluctant” resignations.
Rasmussen is not named in the complaint. The lawsuit says he retired in September.
Pead’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, back pay and benefits.