The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training has taken the first step toward decertifying Carbon County Sheriff Barry Bryner as a police officer.

"All I can say is that POST has served him with a copy of an administrative complaint and we are waiting for him and his attorney to respond," said POST Director Clyde Palmer.POST was asked to investigate Bryner after Carbon County commissioners, residents and sheriff's office employees complained the sheriff was mishandling his duties and abusing his authority to hire and fire.

POST authorities completed their investigation almost a month ago and have since been conferring with the Utah attorney general's office about what steps should be taken against Bryner.

Bryner was unavailable for comment.

An administrative complaint is the first step toward revoking Bryner's certification. The sheriff is allowed time to respond to the complaint before he appears before an administrative law judge.

The judge will make a recommendation to POST officials, who will then decide whether to force Bryner out of office or not.

POST is responsible for certifying all peace officers in the state. Elected sheriffs are also required to obtain certification, which in effect is a license to be a police officer.

Bryner's troubles began last March when a state-appointed team began a management audit of his office. The audit concluded that the state of law enforcement in Carbon County was "unfortunate," but it did not suggest that Bryner be ousted.

Complaints about the sheriff's office continued, so the POST investigation became necessary, Palmer said.

Bryner has cooperated throughout the investigation, Palmer said. From the beginning, the sheriff has blamed his problems on the fact his opponent in the 1986 sheriff's race was Charles Semken, brother of County Commissioner Lee Semken.