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Legislator Drops Push to Abolish Granite Police

Legislator Drops Push to Abolish Granite Police



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A legislator pushing to abolish the Granite School District Police Department said he will drop out because the arrest of a son of his by Granite police was leaked to a newspaper.

Rep. Kory Holdaway, R-Taylorsville and a high school teacher in the district, said Wednesday, "I am going to back away from this idea. I don't want this to be clouded by what happened to my son."

Holdaway was quoted in a copyright story in the Deseret Morning News, which said it was tipped to the youth's arrest by the wife of a district police officer.

Holdaway said he worried focus would now be on whether he was seeking political payback over the arrest of his son instead of on the worth, cost and risks of school districts running their own police departments.

"I hope someone else will pick up the bill, " he said. "In retrospect, I should have had someone else run it. ... I had no idea that they would try to bring up privileged information about a juvenile in order to justify their existence."

He acknowledged a son was arrested last year after a fight, but said, "I have no ulterior motive in pushing the bill at all. My concern is whether we have the best approach. ... Frankly, we should contract with other police agencies."

The newspaper said it had been contacted by a woman who identified herself only as "Holly." It said it identified her from her phone number as Holly Orton of Herriman, who lives outside Granite district and is married to Granite officer Jeromy Orton.

She said the idea of calling the newspaper was her own, not that of her husband or anyone else at the police department.

"We absolutely did not ask anyone to do that (tip the newspaper). That's not the way we do business in Granite School District, and it is not the way the Granite School District Police Department does business," said Martin Bates, assistant for policy and legal services to Granite Superintendent Stephen F. Ronnenkamp.

Bates said records about the arrest of a juvenile "are protected. But personal knowledge (about what those records say) is not protected."

He said if someone released information from personal knowledge, it is not a violation of the Family Rights and Protection Act.

However, he said the district was looking into how information was handled and released and whether any discipline should result.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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