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The Smart Probe

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This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Mayor Rocky Anderson's decision to appoint a five-member commission to look into the way police handled the Elizabeth Smart investigation is appropriate.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is painfully obvious that police investigators followed the wrong path far too long. Compelling circumstantial evidence may have implicated Richard Ricci, but now we know investigators were wrong. Why did they pursue Ricci with such vigor, especially when the Smart family, based on comments made by young Mary Katherine Smart, began turning their attention to a drifter named "Emmanuel?"

Some law officers seem to resent the idea of a panel. One investigator, in particular, has lashed out saying it's a personal thing, that he, Sgt. Don Bell, is the target of a vindictive Mayor. Such accusations obscure the importance of learning, as best as possible, what actually happened with the Smart investigation and why.

Mayor Anderson unnecessarily muddied the panel's work by asking the five distinguished attorneys to also investigate police handling of the murders of four young women in the 1980's.

While it remains important to know what happened in those cases, KSL believes the community at this time would be best served by focusing the panel's work on the Smart investigation. Police officials and investigators need to be held accountable for the decisions they made.

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