HEBER CITY, Utah – The agency responsible for certifying police officers for the state of Utah has received a formal complaint accusing Heber City Police Chief Dave Booth of lying about his use of forced training.
Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) confirmed the complaint was received on Tuesday.
As FOX 13 first reported last week, Officials also charged the city with retaliation after reporting Booth for violence. They accused the boss of suffocating a handcuffed suspect when he put him in the back seat of a police car earlier this year.
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The city has tried to cover up all records and information related to the investigation into the internal use of violence.
According to Sgt. Jason Jarvie’s POST complaint, he believes he can prove to Booth that he lied about his use of weight training.
Jarvie said that he keeps detailed records every time he gives a training course and that Booth falsely claimed to have attended some of Jarvie’s courses.
“After instructing these trainings and reviewing my records, his claim to have attended these trainings is false,” wrote Jarvie. “It is our duty within law enforcement to monitor ourselves and provide transparency to the public.”
According to his resignation letter, Jarvie left the Heber City Police Department in September “only because of the city’s retaliation” after reporting the chief’s use of violence.
Captain Alex Garcia, POST’s assistant director, said the state was taking all complaints seriously and confirmed that he had seen FOX 13 coverage.
“I can’t say anything about that at the moment,” said Garcia. “We are ahead of a complaint that would jeopardize the integrity of this investigation.”
POST has the right, after examining the complaint, to initiate an investigation to ensure that the state has the authority to act under 53-6-211.
“The council is empowered to issue a warning or to suspend or revoke the certification of a peace commissioner if the peace commissioner:
(a) willfully falsify any information in order to obtain certification …
(c) engages in conduct that constitutes a state or federal offense …
(g) a court or law enforcement agency determines that he or she has knowingly committed conduct which involves dishonesty or deception in violation of a policy of the peace commissioner’s employer or any state or federal law. “
“Anything you do in relation to your certification or the review of your certification is considered a government document,” said Garcia. “The integrity of this profession is what we swear by … No complaint is ignored. We conduct a full, independent and thorough investigation into every opened case, and not just into every case that is opened, but also into every complaint. “
Garcia said police chiefs were treated no differently from officials.
Several law enforcement experts told FOX 13 – regardless of whether Booth used excessive force in his interactions with the handcuffed suspect – they don’t know why the boss was in so much trouble.
“Is that the right technique that police officers are taught?” asked Chris Burbank, former Salt Lake City Police Department chief. “No it is not.”
Booth did not report the use of force after the incident.
When speaking with FOX 13, Booth flatly denied having put his hands on the suspect’s neck. His testimony contradicts what he told state investigators during the criminal investigation.
“It never works the way they teach you in POST,” he told state investigators. “It’s a fight. It’s a bloody fight.”
Jared Rigby, Wasatch County Sheriff, Lt. James Moore and Lt. Jeremy Nelson were also named in the POST complaint and charged with violating the Utah whistleblower statute.
According to Jarvie, Moore and Nelson strongly encouraged him to step down as sergeant after filing a lawsuit against Booth for the use of violence.
“This intimidation tactic has been reported to Human Resources … I sincerely hope that POST members will see the negative consequences if law enforcement agencies are allowed to retaliate against officers who file a good faith report (use of force),” wrote Jarvie. “These actions will undoubtedly deter some law enforcement officials from reporting potential violations of policies or laws involving people in positions of power.”
Despite being a county employee, videos received from FOX 13 show Rigby repeatedly speaking on behalf of Heber City, sometimes lecturing or threatening officials instead of asking questions.
“It really depends on the future – your future in the police force,” Rigby told a concerned officer. “So you can dig in your heels and say, ‘This is how I feel and no one is going to change,’ and okay, that’s your choice. You’re just not going to get trustworthy positions that have to do with (defense tactics) and use of force and sergeant and things like that because you’re not willing to learn and be open to it. “
Rigby interviewed Jarvie on September 14, 2021 as part of a separate internal investigation into which Jarvie was accused of lying about Booth’s use of force.
There is no timeline of how long it might take for POST to initiate or complete an investigation, but once it is completed, the results will be published.
If Booth falsified his education, punishment can range from decertification to a written warning.
Heber City has ignored requests for comment.