Police Force in Polygamous Town Could be Decertified

(KCPW News) Big changes could be on the way for the polygamist community of Hildale. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff tells KCPW behavior in the small town has grown increasingly erratic since the arrest of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, and now the state is looking to step in and clean up the local police force.

“Local law enforcement is not respecting and enforcing the role of the special judiciary Bruce Wisan down there, not following the orders of the court as far as who has the right to be on certain properties,” he says. “So, a number of citizens down there appealed to us, saying you need to protect us too, things are getting heated up, we don’t feel like local law enforcement is protecting equally and fairly across the board.”

Shurtleff says he began working with the legislature on developing a plan that would allow the county to take over if most of the officers in the town are decertified.

“We would take this through the standard process that we do with any police disciplinary matter and that is through POST council. And only through POST council investigation and possible decertification of a majority of officers in the Hildale town marshall’s office would be then be looking at maybe the county taking over primary law enforcement authority there in Hildale,” says Shurtleff.

Arizona is currently working on a bill that would apply to Colorado City. Shurtleff says their approach is significantly different than what he wants to do here, because it would give all the power to their Attorney General to go and shut down the police department right away.