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West Valley police ask the FBI to investigate internal corruption allegations

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - West Valley City police are hoping to restore public trust. They said they're facing allegations of systemic corruption. So they're asking the FBI to investigate problems in their department.
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - West Valley City police are hoping to restore public trust. They said they're facing allegations of systemic corruption. So they're asking the FBI to investigate problems in their department.

West Valley police are facing a public perception problem.

"I don't trust police," said Brandy Tibbetts, West Valley City resident.

"Cops take advantage of their badge," said Robert Martinez, West Valley City resident.

That's why on Wednesday, Acting Chief Anita Schwemmer is asking the FBI to investigate the department's narcotics unit. Right now it's facing accusations of corruption and they want to gain back public trust.

"We want to be able to clear our good name," said Anita Schwemmer, West Valley Police Acting Chief.

There's been reason for concern.

Recently the Salt Lake County District Attorney dismissed 19 cases West Valley drug cases because he couldn't trust the evidence. Last November drug detectives shot and killed 21 year old Danielle Willard, but at the time refused to explain why. A month later the entire West Valley Neighborhood Narcotics Unit was disbanded because of internal concerns. All of this has left several people questioning, can you still trust the West Valley badge?

"We feel that by involving the FBI and by being transparent in this we'll be able to find answers for everyone," said Schwemmer.

But when Reporter Brian Carlson talked to people in West Valley Wednesday and asked them if they're more likely to trust police because they're getting the FBI involved, he didn't find many believers.

"Are you more likely to trust police because the FBI is getting involved?" Carlson asked.

"No, probably not," said Collin Kennedy, West Valley City resident.

"In the Danielle case the mother is not getting answers," said Tibbetts.

"So you think it's a just a PR move?" asked Carlson.

"Oh ya, exactly. They're just trying to protect themselves and look better with what they're doing. I don't think they're doing a good job at all," said Martinez.

ABC 4 reached out to the FBI Wednesday. All they could say is they can confirm they are conducting an investigation on West Valley police.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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