The certifications of the police chief and an officer in polygamous twin cities on the Utah-Arizona border have been revoked because they are breaking the law by having multiple wives.
The Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training Council voted Tuesday to immediately revoke the certifications of Colorado City, Ariz., Police Chief Sam Roundy and officer Vance Barlow.
Roundy and Barlow are each believed to have three wives, according to a report compiled by an investigator for the Utah attorney general’s office.
Roundy, who graduated in 1989 from the Arizona police academy and became Colorado City police chief in 1994, declined comment, but has previously said his officers were being targeted because of their religion.
“Every cop has a religion, but religion doesn’t run my job,” Roundy said last week. “It’s religious persecution going after polygamy, that’s all it is.”
Arizona POST executive director Tom Hammarstrom said the two officers likely would face the same sanctions that organization.
“Utah’s action, I’m certain, will initiate the process here,” Hammarstrom told the Deseret Morning News. “The fact that Utah voted to revoke certification is an important element that we think has to have some impact (on our decision).”
Dave Zitting, the mayor in the adjoining community of Hildale, Utah, said the decertifications were regrettable.
“It’s sad that they (Utah) will find cause to take such excellent and dedicated people out of service,” he said.
The Colorado City police department is contracted each year to provide law enforcement services to Hildale in Washington County.
Of the five full-time and two reserve officers currently working for the department, only Roundy and Barlow were targeted in Tuesday’s POST action.
Most of the 10,000 residents of the two towns are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which preaches polygamy as a central tenet.