Carbon County Sheriff Barry Bryner was suspended without pay Thursday night during a special County Commission meeting just hours after his arraignment on a felony charge of fleeing an officer and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Commission Chairman William Krompel said the commission acted under what he called "broad powers" pertaining to general public welfare.Though Bryner, 40, remains in office, the action strips him of his administrative powers until allegations against him are resolved.
Bryner lost his law enforcement powers Wednesday when the Peace Officers Standards and Training Division of the Utah Public Safety Department decertified him. The POST action followed Bryner's arrest Wednesday. A POST official said action was taken while the investigation continues because of the nature of the charges and the fact a handgun was involved.
The beleaguered Bryner was earlier ousted from the Utah Sheriff's Association.
Bryner's arraignment has been continued to March 8 at 4 p.m. to allow him time to consult with an attorney. He appeared before Juvenile Court Judge Paul C. Keller Wednesday without representation. Keller is handling the arraignment in place of 7th Circuit Judge Bryce K. Bryner who is the sheriff's cousin.
Following the court appearance, Bryner went to the sheriff's office, where he was booked and released after posting a $10,000 cash bond. Bryner left through a side door and was driven away.
Bryner agreed to a court stipulation that he refrain from driving county-owned vehicles or authorizing their use while the case is pending.
Deputy Sheriff Jim Robertson has been appointed interim acting sheriff. Robertson previously served as chief deputy under Ross Horsely. Robertson was an early candidate for sheriff in the last election but was eliminated from the race during the county's Democratic convention.
Bryner had been scheduled to meet with county commissioners Wednesday to discuss his possible retirement. He has been plagued by allegations of discrimination, employee harassment, misuse of public money and improper conduct. He recently admitted to having an affair with a dispatcher in his office while on duty.
Wednesday's meeting with commissioners did not occur because early that morning Bryner was involved in a high-speed chase after he failed to stop at the command of a Price police officer. The chase lasted 14 minutes and involved speeds exceeding 100 mph. It ended when Bryner lost control of his car and skidded over a steep embankment. He hid in a wooded area near the crash site for nearly two hours before two officers disarmed and subdued him. He was taken to a hospital where he remained overnight under armed guard.
Bryner cannot be removed from office unless he either resigns or is convicted of a criminal action.
Accusations against Carbon sheriff:
- Discriminating against and harassing current and former employees.
- Giving employees who supported opposing political candidates unfavorable shifts and assignments.
- Misusing public money.
- Mishandling evidence in a drug-enforcement investigation.
Action involving Bryner:
- Dismissal from the Utah Sheriff's Association last week.
- Loss of law enforcement certification Wednesday from the Peace Officers Standards and Training Division.
- Arrest Wednesday and arraignment Thursday on charges of fleeing from an officer and driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Loss of administrative powers Thursday through suspension without pay by the Carbon County Commission.