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Santa Clara • The director of Utah's police academy, Maj. Scott Stephenson, recently attended a conference of his peers in Washington, D.C., where he heard about problems in other states. He's glad he works in Utah.
"Some states don't even investigate an officer for misconduct," Stephenson said. "Other states do only if it's a felony."
Stephenson's remarks came Thursday at the end of the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council's quarterly meeting. The council disciplined seven current or former officers.
The most serious case was that of Iron County sheriff's Deputy Chad Johnson Kloepfer.
Kloepfer, who was still undergoing training with the state to work in the county's jail, was at a restaurant in Salt Lake County with other cadets when he got into a verbal altercation with one, according to council investigators.
Kloepfer wanted to go to the restroom and the other cadet made a joke about him having a small bladder, according to the investigation. Another cadet wouldn't get out of his Kloepfer's way so he could leave the table, and Koepfer put his pistol against that cadet's hip and told him to move.
The council on Thursday voted to revoke Kloepfer's police certification. Kloepfer, 27, also is charged in 3rd District Court in West Jordan with a class A misdemeanor count of threatening the use of a dangerous weapon. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 21.
The council also revoked the certification of Millard County Deputy Dustin J. Nielson, who was found to have stolen pain medication from a jail inmate.
Three police officers received suspensions for driving under the influence. Denise Jones was a Salt Lake City International Airport police officer who got in a traffic accident and then failed a sobriety test, according to investigators. She received a two-year suspension and has already been fired by the airport.
She also pleaded guilty in Woods Cross Justice Court to a misdemeanor count of impaired driving and was sentenced to one year of probation, a $1,420 fine and 48 hours of community service.
Cheryl Pickett is still an officer with the Bountiful Police Department, but the council suspended her for one year on Thursday. She entered a guilty plea in abeyance to a drunken driving charge in Wyoming and received three years of probation, according to council investigators.
Brittney Washington, an officer with the Unified Police Department, was suspended for one year. She pleaded guilty in Salt Lake City Justice Court to impaired driving and was sentenced to one year of probation, a $1,420 fine and 48 hours of community service.
Two officers received suspensions for accessing driver license or police databases without authorization.
Utah Department of Public Safety Officer Sean Cannon received a three-month suspension for looking up information about a person suspected of assaulting his friend.
Holly Ziegenhorn, who was employed with West Valley City until her resignation last year, was found to have looked up information for her children and parents while she was still on the force. Council staff suggested a nine-month suspension. Ziegenhorn's attorney, Lindsay Jarvis, successfully lobbied Thursday for the council to issue only a six-month suspension.
Jarvis said Ziegenhorn wasn't stalking or seeking to retaliate against anyone, she just wanted to help some family members obtain affordable insurance.
"She's been a police officer for 18 years with no problems," Jarvis told the council.