Allegation: Utah Police Wrote Phony Tickets To Tourists, Pocketed The Cash (InformationLiberation)
Thursday June 14th, 2012
A revenue extraction agency in a tiny town in Utah which tourists are forced to travel through on their way to a local National Park has been accused of writing phony tickets to tourists and pocketing the cash.
Via The Salt Lake Tribune:
Police in the town that promotes itself as "The Gateway to Zion National Park" wrote citations to foreign tourists, required them to pay cash and didn't document the fines, according to a Utah State audit released this week.Sounds like they're providing quite the "service."
Also, perhaps thousands of dollars in fines collected by Springdale, Utah, police are missing, the audit says. Auditors can't be sure because Springdale police kept poor records.
"Thus, the possibility exists that officers could have written citations, collected the citation fines from defendants on the spot ... destroyed the citations, and kept the money without anyone ever detecting," state auditors wrote.
It isn't clear if there are any criminal investigations into the practices. Utah Attorney General spokesman Paul Murphy said the office has not been contacted about the findings. Ryan Shaum, the lead prosecutor at the Washington County, Utah, Attorney's Office, said he is not aware of any criminal investigation.
Besides the question of the missing money, the audit says the practices violated at least five state statutes and that Springdale police violated the tourists' rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection.
[...]Springdale has only about 500 residents, but because it sits at the south entrance to Zion National Park, the bulk of the park's 2.8 million annual visitors pass through the town. The city of Springdale's website says the police department has three full-time officers plus reserve officers.