The state department of Peace Officer Standards and Training has completed its investigation of the Carbon County sheriff and will decide by the beginning of next week whether to file a complaint that could cost the sheriff his job.
POST council members met Thursday at Provo's Excelsior Hotel and got an update on the investigation, which began after Carbon County commissioners, residents and sheriff's office personnel complained Sheriff Barry Bryner was mishandling his duties.Following the meeting, POST Director Clyde Palmer refused to discuss the results of the investigation. He will confer with the Utah attorney general's office before deciding whether to file an administrative complaint against Bryner.
"The question will be, `Should this person, based on this investigation, be allowed to continue law enforcement in this state?' " Palmer asked.
POST is responsible for certifying all law enforcement personnel in Utah and has the authority to decertify Bryner. The process could take up to three months, however, because the sheriff will be allowed time to respond to the complaint before he faces an administrative law judge. After hearing the case, the judge will make a recommendation to POST officials, who will decide whether to force Bryner out of office.
The sheriff's troubles began last March when a state-appointed team began a management audit of his office. The audit was requested by a county commissioners and the sheriff himself after controversy erupted over Bryner's hiring and firing practices. The audit report concluded that the state of law enforcement in Carbon County was "unfortunate," but it did not suggest Bryner be removed from office.
Palmer said complaints about the sheriff's office continued, so the investigation became necessary.
Bryner has cooperated throughout the investigation, Palmer said. From the beginning, the sheriff has blamed his problems on the fact that his opponent in the 1986 sheriff's race was Charles Semken, brother of County Commissioner Lee Semken.