EPHRAIM — The problems with the Ephraim Police Department went deeper than its chief not filling out paperwork, according to the final report on the embattled office.

An investigation conducted by Utah County Sherriff’s Office at the request of Ephraim City officials found a divided department that included patrol officers who did not trust their chief to the point they would purposely break department policies, and a chief whose conduct — while not criminal — left the door open for a possible lawsuit.

The culture of mistrust within the department resulted in officers purposely unplugging GPS tracking devices in their patrol cars so the chief wouldn’t know where they were, not filling out police reports as instructed by the chief because the officers didn’t like the system, and writing “unprofessional statements” in police reports, according to the investigation.

As for Chief Ron Rasmussen, the investigation found that in the past 10 years, the chief failed to complete more than 200 reports — including cases that involved burglary and theft, according to the investigation’s final report.

“One case in particular that is frustrating to the officers is the (name redacted) case, sexual assault of two young boys,” the report states.

Attorneys, other law enforcement agencies and state social services would often request police reports of cases investigated by Rasmussen, only to be told they were not available.

“Being this negligent on reports, though not rising to a criminal level, is far from professional and could possibly open up the city to litigation,” the investigation concluded.

Furthermore, officers in the town of about 7,000 said they felt their safety was compromised because Rasmussen — currently the state’s longest serving police chief — would routinely receive calls for police assistance on his personal phone and would tell officers to go check out the calls for service, without ever going through …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

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