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KAYSVILLE – An officer with the Kaysville Police Department was back on the job Wednesday, almost eight months after someone impersonated his wife online and made racist comments.
Officer Michael Criddle will never forget May 28, 2020.
"Our lives were destroyed — everything we had worked for," Criddle said.
The impersonator posted derogatory comments about the death of George Floyd on a local TV station's Facebook page under a fake Facebook profile that claimed to be his wife, Amber Criddle.
Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg took quick action. "We immediately pulled in Officer Criddle," he said.
Michael Criddle was put on administrative leave so an investigation could start. He was devastated.
"To work your whole life, to build a good reputation and have it crushed in a post for 30 seconds or a minute is very difficult," he said.
And he described the following months as "hell on earth."
"We were isolated, alone," Criddle said. "My kids' pictures were posted on social media, people wished me slaughtered on duty. We received death threats. We had to move."
At the Utah Capitol, Amber Criddle testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee in hopes of passing HB239, a law that will make online impersonation a crime.
To work your whole life, to build a good reputation and have it crushed in a post for 30 seconds or a minute is very difficult.
Right now, even though investigators know who acted as Amber Criddle online, it's nearly impossible to convict them.
"That's probably the most discouraging thing about this is in speaking with some prosecutors, both federally and locally, I'm not sure there really is a statute that this behavior violates," Oberg said.
Oberg hopes that changes. In the meantime, he was happy to have officer Criddle back to work.
"He's always been a good officer for us," Oberg said. "He's been a good officer in the community. He's worked hard, has a high level of integrity."
And for Criddle, his first day back to work has been memorable.
"It's been an emotional day," he said. "I am truly grateful for the place I work."
Criddle also said if his experience changes things for the positive, it will have been worth it.