Accusations lobbed at sheriff’s candidate
With all seven Summit County department head positions up for election in November, the campaigns for each are heating up, leading to the politics-related release of a report that paints an unflattering portrait of one of the candidates.
An internal affairs investigation on Summit County Sheriff candidate Kris Hendricksen obtained by The Park Record outlines a pattern of alleged dereliction of duty by Hendricksen during his time as a sergeant in the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
The file, released in response to a public records request by Summit County Democratic Chair Glenn Wright and provided to The Record, contains several letters of caution and indicates that in one instance, Hendricksen was suspended for 30 days while an investigation was conducted on allegations of insubordination and nonfeasance (defined as the omission of some act that should have been performed).
Hendricksen, who was employed by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office from 2005 to 2008, said in response to the files, "You used the right words — allegations This is made-up crap."
Some of the allegations in 2008, according to the investigation, include:
- Hendricksen was "avoiding his crew, and was spending an inordinate amount of time at Park City Police, not responding to calls as a supervisor [with] responsibility for major incidents."
- He demonstrated an inability to do time sheets correctly, failed to contact others for training, and used inappropriate language in reports.
- He fostered an "unprofessional," "intolerant" and "negative" atmosphere in regards to his crew
- He publicly badmouthed superiors.
- He "failed to ensure that the workplace had a working environment free from unlawful harassment for all employees."
Hendricksen is running for Sheriff against Justin Martinez, and when informed of the internal affairs investigation being made public, Martinez stressed that he or his campaign had nothing to do with its release. "I don’t want this to be a mudslinging campaign," Martinez said. He added that he wanted to run his campaign based on his own education and experience.
Incumbent Sheriff Dave Edmunds has publicly endorsed Martinez, and was critical of Hendricksen. "We have candidates at the opposite ends of the spectrum," Edmunds said. "[Hendricksen] resigned under great suspicion His responsibilities were taken away from him. He wasn’t up to snuff."
Hendricksen currently works for the Utah Valley University Police Department, and ran against Edmunds for sheriff in 2010.
"I’m not perfect," Hendricksen. "I make mistakes. I have never done anything criminal. I have never done anything immoral."
He continued: "I am still employed as a police officer. I’ve been teaching at the police academy for 18 years."
Hendricksen said part of the reason he is running for office is that there is low morale in the Sheriff’s Office because there are certain deputies and officers, like him, who get "railroaded." The leadership of the department prefers to investigate fellow deputies rather than criminals, he said, resulting in the departure of many deputies in the past decade.
Hendricksen said that if he wanted to, he could bring up allegations against Martinez, but that he and the Republican Party want to run a clean campaign. "I’m running on the issues," Hendricksen said.
As for the allegations against him, Hendricksen said, "It’s politics."
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After previous failed attempts, the South Summit High School Gay-Straight Alliance met for the first time Oct. 1.