Brickey blasts ‘leak’ at department as a coward
Summit County Attorney David Brickey fired back this week at an alleged anonymous source within the ranks of the Park City Police Department who claims county prosecutors are soft on crime.
"There may be some individuals who may feel that way," said Rick Ryan, who is a Park City Police Department lieutenant.
Ryan insists, however, that Brickey’s performance has satisfied department brass.
"Part of their job is to prosecute cases that are winnable," Ryan said. "If an officer doesn’t have enough information for their case, initially, the County Attorney’s Office will request more information."
Meanwhile, the number of cases Brickey says his office refused to prosecute since February is below the national average, adding that prosecutors in Salt Lake County refuse cases at a rate of roughly 23 percent.
"This recent complaint has left me wondering, how aggressive am I? Are we being too aggressive?" Brickey said.
Prosecutors turned down 14 of the 92 cases investigated by Park City officers that involved felonies or high misdemeanors, Brickey said, adding that the 14 percent rate of decline bucks the nationwide trend of 25 percent.
The same officer in Park City reportedly investigated almost half of the cases refused by prosecutors.
Brickey’s office declined to prosecute 10 percent of their overall caseload after Brickey says he factored in investigations from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Utah Highway Patrol, Kamas Police Department and state Division of Wildlife Resources.
"Do we want to have a police state where the cops walk in and simply hand in their report and all of us just rubberstamp it?" Brickey asked in an interview Monday.
When asked recently by a reporter about a case that involved the alleged embezzlement of money from a church in Park City, Brickey said: "The officer’s dragging his feet."
"We’ve told the officer he’s doing a lousy job," said Brickey while refusing to name the cop.
Brickey has acted properly in reviewing the case, Ryan says.
"This has been a case that has had a long investigation," he said, adding, "Certainly we like to see cases move as quickly as possible, and I think it did."
After he sent a letter to the Park City Police Department asking for a name of who had spoken with the media anonymously, "I was assured that nobody in Park City talked to t he press," Brickey said, while blasting reporters who used the anonymous source in stories.
"Stick a name to it," challenged Brickey. "It doesn’t take a lot of courage to be an unnamed source."
He insists Park City Manager Tom Bakaly will be told about the apparent leak at the police department.
"That’s going to be my sarcastic comment to Tom Bakaly. I’m going to say, who’s your new [police department spokesperson]," Brickey said. "Because, evidently, whoever your new [spokesperson] is, doesn’t have the guts to put his or her name to the press release."
Rank-and-file officers in Park City aren’t authorized to discuss policy matters with reporters or besmirch other agencies, Ryan said.
"We’re doing our best to have a good working relationship with the County Attorney’s Office," he said, adding that if the source of the alleged leak is identified a "disgruntled" officer could be disciplined. "I believe (a leak) could happen. I don’t believe that it has."
The Park City Police Department wouldn’t authorize a detective to anonymously leak information to the media, Ryan said.
"If we had a complaint or a concern with Mr. Brickey’s office, we would be talking to Mr. Brickey," he added.
Brickey, who is a Republican, was elected recently to his second term after the Summit County Commission appointed him to replace former Democratic County Attorney Bob Adkins, who retired to become a Third District Court judge.
"I feel bad that there have been accusations, if there have, from within my organization about Mr. Brickey being soft on crime, because, certainly I do not view that to be the case," Park City Police Chief Lloyd Evans said.
"One of the things that is very important for the citizens of our community is that the levels of law enforcement and criminal justice work together," Evans said. "How could we possibly provide the highest level of service if it appears we are not on the same page?"
The police department, however, won’t investigate the alleged leak, he added.
"The last thing I want to do is make a blanket accusation against all of my employees," Evans said. "I will and am working closely with Mr. Brickey’s office to overcome any of these issues and we’ll work through this."
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.