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Ex-Mantua police chief has police license suspended 2 years

Ex-Mantua police chief has police license suspended 2 years

(Utah Highway Patrol, File)

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SANDY — The former Mantua police chief who lost his job shortly after he was arrested for driving under the influence in January had his peace officer license suspended for two years during a disciplinary hearing last week.

During its quarterly meeting held Wednesday, the Peace Officer Standards and Training council handed down a two-year suspension to Shane Zilles and disciplined 24 other Utah officers for various other actions.

Zilles was not present during the hearing. He was arrested by Utah Highway Patrol troopers after they spotted a Mantua police squad car traveling faster than the speed limit and driving in the median near the mouth of Sardine Canyon on Jan. 29. A blood test showed he was under the influence of Ambien and Benadryl, POST officials noted.

City officials fired him shortly after the arrest. Zilles pleaded guilty to impaired driving, a class B misdemeanor, on April 19. He was ordered to serve two days in jail or five days of community service and given a year of probation.

However, court records show Zilles' legal woes don't appear to be completely over. While it wasn't brought up in the meeting, court records show Zilles was again charged with DUI, a class B misdemeanor, in 1st District Court on Aug. 20 after he was pulled over in Logan on Aug. 12. Details about the incident were sparse, but a charging document stated a chemical test showed that Zilles had a blood alcohol limit above 0.05% at the time he was pulled over. The case remains ongoing and a pretrial conference was scheduled for Oct. 16, according to court records.

Former Enoch Police Cpl. Jeremy Dunn was among the others disciplined last week. Dunn's use of deadly force was ruled not justified, but he didn’t face any charges in relation to an officer-involved shooting in 2018. During the meeting, officials said Dunn had admitted he didn't follow existing firearms and department training during the incident.

"I saw her as an imminent threat and I made the best decision that I could to minimize the damage to her and the preservation of life was my priority, but I do see there are things I could have done better and done differently," Dunn testified in front of the council, regarding the officer-involved shooting. "Moving forward, I would adhere to POST's training and be more cognizant of every situation I encounter."

The council voted to suspend Dunn four years despite a recommendation to revoke his license.

Former Unified police officer Lance Bess was suspended three years for his part in a 2015 duck hunting incident at the Bear River Bird Refuge, where a gun was flashed to another party after an errant shot was fired. Bess was later found guilty of using a dangerous weapon during a fight, a class A misdemeanor, in 2017. The ruling was upheld by the Utah Supreme Court earlier this year.

Before his suspension was handed down, Bess explained his actions that day. He said he was in fear because he had been directly shot at three times and thought he going to be shot, but also apologized for his conduct wasn't perfect the day of the incident.

"I strive to live my life with integrity," he said. "I apologize to the law enforcement community. I let you down. My family name and my reputation are tarnished because of what has transpired."

The POST council also approved an update to the Utah Administrative Code to include bans on taking and sending sexually explicit images as well as sexual acts while on the job. Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter, who serves as the council’s chairman, said a few cases involving that sort of misconduct had popped up in recent hearings. Adding it to the code helps dictate disciplinary results and also makes it clear that it’s unacceptable behavior while on duty.

“You’d think common sense would rule and that you wouldn’t have to create sanctions for such an issue,” he said. “We addressed it very specifically and really succinct in a sense of making sure that it was very clear that officers have an understanding that by sending, transmitting, giving, exchanging, selling, soliciting or posting — through any means — sexual images … that those issues can definitely (lead to) sanctions.”


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