A bill that would disband the police force in Colorado City is back again this legislative session.
For whatever reasons, legislators ended up killing almost the same exact bill last session, and the allegedly corrupt "marshals" on the Utah/Arizona border -- whom Attorney General Tom Horne contends are still loyal to child rapist Warren Jeffs and his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -- still have policing power.
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This time around, House Bill 2648 has been proposed by Republican Representative Michelle Ugenti. Ugenti agreed to answer some our questions a few days ago, but we haven't heard back at the time of this post, so we'll let you know what we do know.
Colorado City was previously patrolled only by the "Marshal's Office," which state and federal authorities believe is to be loyal to Jeffs instead of the law, so Horne supported a bill that would've gotten rid of them.
"The law provides that a local police agency can be decertified if more than half of its individual police officers had their licenses taken away in the previous 8 years," the AG's office explained at the time. "This would include Colorado City, and may apply in other cases as well. However, decertification of the law enforcement agency would not occur unless the Attorney General determined that the problem was systemic, and the County Board of Supervisors would have to vote to have the Sheriff takeover local law enforcement duties."
The AG's office had approval of this from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, which would then get paid by Colorado City.
However, that bill failed, and it wasn't long before the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division filed a federal lawsuit against Colorado City and the neighboring Utah town of Hilldale, claiming that the "Marshal's Office" does its policing on the basis of FLDS law, instead of enforcing actual laws -- which wasn't a new allegation, obviously.
Horne then had to fork over more than $400,000 from his own office to get the Mohave County Sheriff's Office to patrol Colorado City, with the "Marshal's Office" -- which has absolutely nothing to do with the U.S. Marshals Service -- still policing the town, too.
And wouldn't you know, a few months later, Horne was holding a press conference to thank the Mohave County Sheriff's Office for its help in freeing a woman who was married in the town at the age of 14, and was held captive there until the age of 26.
Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan reportedly called the Marshal's Office "security guards for the FLDS church."
Now, the Legislature will have another chance at this, with Ugenti's bill -- which appears to be almost the same as the bill that failed last session. Ugenti's bill can be found here, and the previous version can be found here.
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