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West Valley City considering changes to police review process

WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC 4 News) – The federal government is now getting involved in dropping cases handled by West Valley City Police. Tuesday the U.S. Attorney has dropped 8 cases from the West Valley Neighborhood Narcotics Unit. This comes as West Valley is making changes in the way the police department handles internal investigations. Those changes are now going beyond police.
WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC 4 News) – The federal government is now getting involved in dropping cases handled by West Valley City Police. Tuesday the U.S. Attorney has dropped 8 cases from the West Valley Neighborhood Narcotics Unit. This comes as West Valley is making changes in the way the police department handles internal investigations. Those changes are now going beyond police.

Tuesday the West Valley City Council has a lot to consider.

"The reason that I'm here is to encourage you to tell the police department to do the right thing," said Lindsay Jarvis, Attorney.

The council is being asked to look at two issues; one of them directly involves West Valley City Detective Shaun Cowley. Cowley is at the center of West Valley's police corruption allegations. His name appears on many of the 19 West Valley drug cases dismissed by the Salt Lake County District Attorney, he was one of two officers who shot and killed Danielle Willard in November, and he was a member of the Neighborhood Narcotics Unit now being investigated by the FBI for corruption.

Lindsay Jarvis is Cowley's primary attorney; she claims Cowley has been told he will be fired, and she's asking the council to stop that from happening.

"All we're asking is to allow the FBI to do that investigation prior to taking action on my client," said Jarvis.

The other issue involves a citizen group expected to weigh in on that decision called West Valley's Professional Standards Review Board (PSRB). It looks into complaints made against the police. Because of all the recent police corruption allegations, West Valley Mayor Mike Winder asked the City Manager to review the board, and look for ways to make their involvement more transparent.

"We can do better. I think we can do better. We need to be more transparent, we need to be more rigorous in oversight of police activities," said Mayor Mike Winder, West Valley City.

The recommendations made to the City Council Tuesday included eliminating a police officer from the board, providing the board more training, having the board make reports of its findings, publicize how average people can reach the board, hold an annual meeting for public input, and eliminate term limits for board members.

ABC 4 is told over the next two weeks the city council will look over these recommendations, then hold a meeting and make a decision on whether or not it will implement the changes.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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