A neutered version of the bill that would have gotten rid of the corrupt cops in Colorado City passed the House yesterday.
House Bill 2648 was approved by the House with a 52-7 vote, after one of the primary purposes -- disbanding the "Marshal's Office" in the polygamist town of Colorado City -- was removed from the bill.
The way Republican Representative Michelle Ugenti proposed it, local police departments could be dissolved if half of its police officers had their licenses taken away over the course of eight years -- which would've gotten rid of the "Marshal's Office."
Republican Representative John Kavanagh passed an amendment to the bill, which clarifies that this "only applies to the revocations of peace officer certifications that occur on or after the effective date of this act." So, now the "Marshal's Office" doesn't qualify.
"Every police department has a clean slate," Kavanagh explained his amendment.
For whatever reasons, legislators couldn't agree on the original proposal last session either, even though 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.
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."
Republican Representative Doris Goodale, who represents Colorado City in her district, defended the town once again -- as she did when she was vocal against the bill last session.
We've tried to get Goodale's explanation, but she hasn't returned New Times' calls.
We did, however, see what she told Valley political reporter Howie Fischer.
"I would really challenge anyone to present to me documentation, absolute fact, anything that's in writing that suggests Colorado City is a rogue department and that we have to create an entire system of police oversight," Goodale told him. "It's all built on hearsay, it's all built on conjecture by the Attorney General's Office."
Well, it's probably not "absolute fact," but there's a 19-page document from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division alleging just that -- and other allegations -- and we're pretty sure the Justice Department didn't just type up 19 pages worth of bullshit for the hell of it.
Among the claims, "...Marshal's Deputies went to each household in the Cities and asked residents to turn over any dogs that they had in the home to the Officers. The Marshal's Deputies then shot and killed the dogs in a slaughter pit a short distance from the Cities. Two of the Marshal's Deputies involved in this incident remain employed by the Marshal's Office."
Or how about this: "On or about May 18, 2010, a group of non-FLDS children attempted to play at the [public park]. A Marshal's Deputy told the children that they could not play at the Park and threatened them with arrest if they continued to play."
Let's also not forget that the Mohave County Sheriff's Office -- which the AG's office has been paying to do cop work on top of the "marshals" -- just recently helped a woman escape Colorado City, after being held captive in the FLDS community for years after being forced to marry her brother-in-law at age 14.
Nope, nothing to see here, folks, according to Goodale.
The bill has been sent to the Senate.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.