This move has to do with the officers from West Valley's now defunct drug unit. It's the same unit the FBI is investigating for corruption. Before Wednesday police would not confirm who these officers are, or what type of action is being taken with them. Now, that's all out in the open.
We now know the names of the West Valley City police officers being investigated for corruption.
Wednesday West Valley police sent ABC 4 sent a press release stating all of the officers in its former Neighborhood Narcotics Unit are all now on paid administrative leave.
Those officers include Lt. John Coyle, Sgt. Michael Johnson, Det. Ricardo Franco, Det. Sean McCarthy, Det. Rafael Frausto, Det. Chris Smith, and Det. Barbara Lund. Det. Shaun Cowley and Det. Kevin Salmon were also members of the unit, but are already on paid administrative leave for shooting and killing 21 year old Danielle Willard last November. The entire unit was disbanded one month later.
"We did have some concerns and they have not been reorganized since then,” said Anita Schwemmer, Acting West Valley Police Chief.
So far 96 drug cases investigated by the unit have been dismissed, because prosecutors like the U.S. Attorney and Salt Lake County District Attorney couldn't trust the claims police were making against the alleged criminals.
"Those folks are citizens of our community, are not getting the measure of justice they deserve because of the conduct of one or several officers," said Sim Gill, Salt Lake Co. District Attorney.
Last week West Valley police told ABC 4 that conduct includes mishandling evidence, missing drugs and money taken from busts, using GPS trackers without a warrant, keeping suspects’ personal items from seized vehicles, making trophies or souvenirs out of known drug traffickers' property, and there were supposedly problems with confidential informants not following policy.
Reporter Brian Carlson asked West Valley police for an interview on why the unit is now being put on administrative leave, but police refused. However they did say for what police are facing right now with these corruption allegations this is normal protocol. That may be true, but some people may be wondering – Why this wasn't this done two weeks ago when the department announced the FBI would be investigating the unit for corruption?
Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson