Probe • Outside agency hired to investigate allegations; officer claims he faced retaliation.
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Tooele County announced Thursday that it has hired an outside investigating agency to look into its Sheriff's Office over unspecified allegations against some of its employees.
Sheriff Frank Park confirmed the investigation Thursday but said he wasn't authorized to talk about it.
Tooele County Attorney Doug Hogan declined to elaborate on the investigation when contacted Thursday.
"It wouldn't be appropriate to give any more details because the nature of those details would impact the investigation," he said.
Tooele County spokesman Wade Matthews also said he could not specify the scope of the investigation or comment on the nature of the allegations. He said the allegations are against unspecified department employees but not against the Sheriff's Office as a whole. The investigators Matthews would not specify who was conducting the probe are based outside the county.
The announcement of the investigation came after accusations surfaced of retaliation and a hostile environment for some employees within the office, according to one officer who spoke to The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday.
Corrections Officer Trevor Williams said Thursday that he was targeted to be let go during a round of budget cuts because he didn't get along with Park.
Williams said Park used a recent round of layoffs in the financially struggling county to cut him out of the ranks.
Park said the investigation has nothing to do with Williams' case. He said the decision on whom to cut was based on a point system that took into account an employee's seniority, number of disciplinary issues and an abilities score that was calculated by the department. Park said Williams wasn't targeted he simply didn't make the cut when the point system was applied to him.
Williams notified the county that he would be suing for wrongful termination after he lost his job, but the case was settled before it was ever filed. Williams contends that he got his job back as part of the settlement, which he said also included payment for lost wages. Park contended the looming suit had nothing to do with it. He took Williams back once there were some openings in the corrections staff earlier this year, he said.
"Since he's been back, there's been no retaliation that I know of whatsoever," Park said.