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News Specialist John Daley reportingThe department has received some sharp criticism over the past few days, particularly regarding why some of those investigating for months seemed wedded to the idea that handyman Richard Ricci was behind the kidnapping.
Now the Mayor wants an indepedent panel to find out what could have been done differently.
A difference in opinion over the direction of the Elizabeth Smart investigation was painfully clear just last month.
February 3rd, the Smart family holds a news conference calling for a new focus, that people move on from the late Richard Ricci, the number one police suspect, and start focusing on the mysterious transient known as Emmanuel.
Ed Smart/Elizabeth's Father/Feb. 3, 2003: "IF SOMEBODY KNOWS AND CAN CLEAR RICHARD RICCI, I WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE."
"HE WAS GOING ABOUT THE COUNTRY FROM HOMELESS SHELTER TO HOMELESS SHELTER, PREACHING BORN AGAIN CHRISTIANITY."
Notably absent--anyone from the police department, though a spokesman tells reporters later police did want to speak with the man.
Fred Louis/Police Spokesman/Feb. 3: "WE'VE KNOWN ABOUT THIS PERSON FOR SOME TIME. INVESTIGATORS HAVE DONE SOME GROUND WORK IN THIS INVESTIGATION TRYING TO FIND OUT WHERE THIS PERSON IS. WE'VE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND HIM."
Fast forward five weeks. Elizabeth Smart is found alive. The man the family believed held all the answers is arrested in the kidnapping.
Yesterday Chief Rick Dinse defended the department, saying half the investigators working the case were still looking at Ricci, half at other leads.
Now it's the mayor who wants answers.
Rocky Anderson/Salt Lake City Mayor: "IF THERE'S ANY ONE THING I CERTAINLY DISAGREED WITH AND I KNOW THE FAMILY DISAGREES WITH, IT WAS IN THE LATER PUBLIC STATEMENTS BY CERTAIN SPOKESPEOPLE FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT WHERE THEY WERE JUST STILL SAYING RICHARD RICCI IS THE NUMBER ONE, AND THERE ISN'T EVEN A DISTANT SECOND."
Anderson says on Monday he'll announce the members of a five-person independent commission to look at the case.
Rocky Anderson/Salt Lake City Mayor: "IT'S NOT A WITCH HUNT. IT'S JUST FIGURING OUT WHAT HAPPENED."
We did not get a call back from police today regarding the commission.
One implication of all this is that there could be changes within the department, depending on what the commission finds. It's up to the chief to handle personnel matters within his police force. The mayor has the power to fire and hire the police chief.