Summit County sheriff's challenger: I didn't cheat
Election 2010 • Officer denies cheating at police academy in 2002.
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The man challenging Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds on the November ballot says he did not cheat on quizzes at the Salt Lake City police academy.

Dax Shane, D-Francis, said an investigation into allegations of cheating in 2002 found some impropriety but no cheating.

Shane is an eight-year Salt Lake City police officer who has run an aggressive campaign against the two-term Republican incumbent from Oakley. He has challenged Edmunds' management in both style and substance.

However, news that he "cheated" at the academy put Shane on the defensive this week. On Wednesday, Shane said he takes exception to a headline in The Park Record newspaper that said he cheated.

Nonetheless, Shane and four other officer candidates did discuss quizzes with each other and with instructors in 2002. That activity took place on four or five separate occasions.

When Salt Lake City police officials got wind of the incidents, all five candidates were terminated.

The sheriff said Shane's activities at the academy should give voters food for thought.

"It's a significant issue the electorate of Summit County should consider," Edmunds said.

But, according to Shane and police association president Tom Gallegos, an ensuing investigation found no cheating and the candidates all were reinstated.

Shane characterized the flap as a misunderstanding. The instructors had allowed the discussions to go on. "I didn't believe then and I don't believe now that we were cheating," he said.

Gallegos said the guidelines for quizzes were unclear.

"Everybody knows you're not supposed to talk during a quiz," Gallegos said. "But if they had clear rules, they would have fired those five guys and not looked back. But they brought them all back and found there was no blatant cheating."

On the other hand, Shane said that, in hindsight, it wasn't appropriate to talk during the quizzes.

"If you're a police officer, you admit you're wrong and move on," he said. "I'm not trying to hide anything."

csmart@sltrib.com