This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
CLEARFIELD - Three state undercover cops walked into Bogey's Night Club one September night and then over the course of two hours repeatedly made lewd comments to a waitress, waved a $5 bill at a rowdy customer enticing her to expose her breasts and, when she refused, bought her a drink.
After ordering themselves dinner and drinks, the officers cited the club for serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron - the same woman they had treated to a shot of Jagermeister liqueur.
Club owners say the state brought liquor violation counts against them after the 2006 sting that has taken a year to defend while ignoring the officers' misbehavior in making the bust.
"We asked for an investigation into the officers' conduct in July - and we're still waiting for a response," said club attorney Lisa McGarry.
Shelia Page, who prosecuted the case for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said buying customers drinks is legal and the officers indicated to her that their other behavior was an effort to "blend in" with the crowd. She added that it is up to law enforcement agencies - not her department - to set policies governing officers' behavior.
Lt. Ed Michaud, head of the state's alcohol enforcement team, said he was unaware of the officers' actions until questioned by a reporter. He said the agents' conduct was "over the top and an embarrassment to the department" that will be addressed at future training sessions.
Virtually all liquor violations come from stings - a prospect owners fear most because citations bring hefty fines and even closures. Club owners are reluctant to speak out against investigators or the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which makes recommendations on sanctions the liquor-control board rarely questions.
Bogey's was fined for allowing the agents into the club without checking for a required membership card. But state could not prove the woman was intoxicated after owners produced tapes from a surveillance system that contradicted officers' assertion the woman was so unsteady that she had trouble walking without holding onto something or someone for assistance.
For his part, club owner Allen Whittle said he still is angry the agents got away with sexually harassing a server.
During an administrative hearing in September, Officer Jerry Walters said that in order to maintain their cover, agents asked the waitress to accompany them to a MILF contest, which Walters identified as "Moms I'd Like to F---" competition.
"I feel very confident in telling you [the waitress] had no idea that she was dealing with three police officers sitting at that table, based on the conversation we had," he testified.
The waitress, who works part-time at the club and is a full-time emergency medical technician, said Walters and officers Rolynn Snow and David Antonsen "kept up with the MILF comments" for some two hours.
She also testified that when a particularly unruly customer started to pull up her blouse the officers began "egging her on to flash, yelling 'show us your t--s.' " The woman declined, but told the agents they could buy her a drink instead.
McGarry, Bogey's attorney, questioned why the officers bought alcohol for someone they suspected was intoxicated. The agents countered that the woman only showed "early signs" of intoxication when they bought her the shot.
Hearing officer Carol Clawson ruled the waitress and bartender - not the agents - "were in a better position" to determine if the woman had too much to drink. She dismissed the "over service" alcohol count, however, saying the state couldn't prove the woman was intoxicated, in part because she showed the same uninhibited behavior drunk or sober.
Clawson discounted the club's assertion the agents had a duty to take the woman home if they believed her drunk.
"While law enforcement may have a general duty to protect the public," she wrote, "in this instance Bogey's has the primary duty to ensure that its patrons do not drink so much that they are unable to drive."