Officer resigns after stint in prison for contempt

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — Nine days after ending a five-month stint in prison for refusing to answer the questions of a federal grand jury, a deputy town marshal has resigned his job policing this Arizona-Utah border community that is home to an insular polygamist sect.

Town Marshal Fred Barlow informed Utah police certification officials Monday of Deputy Mica S. Barlow’s resignation, said Maj. Rich Townsend, director of Utah’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) academy. Arizona’s POST received the same call Wednesday, academy compliance manager Bob Forry said.

There is no phone listing for Mica Barlow in Colorado City, and he could not immediately be contacted.

A public records request submitted by The Associated Press on Friday to Colorado City officials seeking a copy of Barlow’s resignation letter was not filled, and Fred Barlow could not be reached for comment.

Officers here are certified in both Utah and Arizona and provide police services in Colorado City and its sister city of Hildale, Utah. The towns are the home base of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which practices polygamy and whose leader, Warren Jeffs, was arrested last week on federal warrants for evading prosecution.

Jeffs is now in the Washington County, Utah, jail, awaiting trial on two felony counts of rape as an accomplice for his alleged role in arranging a marriage between a teenage girl and an older man. A hearing is scheduled Monday in St. George. If convicted, Jeffs could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Mica Barlow’s resignation came less than a week after he was released from the Central Arizona Detention Facility in Florence, where he’s been since April, when a federal judge found him in contempt of court for refusing to respond to a subpoena to appear before the grand jury. He’s one of six men _ all members of Jeffs’ FLDS church _ incarcerated for contempt. All were released Aug. 29, a day after Warren Jeffs was arrested.

Grand jury proceedings are secret, so it’s unknown what jurors might have heard from Mica Barlow had he testified. However, it’s widely known that federal investigators were trying to locate Jeffs, who had been a fugitive for more than a year before his arrest Aug. 28 during a traffic stop north of Las Vegas.

Colorado City payroll records obtained by The AP through a public records request made in July indicate the city continued to pay Mica Barlow his net monthly salary of $2,346.98 through the first two months of his incarceration. In June, the department paid him just one check of $857.53.

Mica Barlow’s refusal to testify had drawn Townsend’s attention and last week the Utah POST director suspended Barlow’s peace officer certification, which he’d held since December 1997. POST will conduct an investigative hearing and in December decide if Mica Barlow should have his certification revoked, Townsend said.

The investigation will go forward despite Barlow’s resignation, Townsend said, adding that it’s unacceptable for an officer sworn to uphold state and federal laws to fail to answer a subpoena.

“It’s not irrelevant, because he can still get a job some place else,” Townsend said.

Forry said Arizona officials are also investigating Barlow, who received his certification in that state in September 1998, according to records provided by Colorado City. With the resignation, Mica Barlow’s certification becomes inactive, Forry said, but that does not stop an investigation or the possibility of decertification.

In March, after concerns were raised about whether police in Colorado City and Hildale were loyal to Jeffs and his church ahead of state law, both agencies sent warning letters to every officer and Marshal Fred Barlow. The letters reminded officers they are required to comply with court orders and work cooperatively with other law enforcement agencies.

The complaints were made after a Mohave County, Ariz., attorney’s office investigator said police failed to stop FLDS members from removing a grain elevator and a building that were assets in a church trust subject to court order.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
AP, via KVOA , USA
Sep. 8, 2006
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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday September 9, 2006.
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