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West Valley police chief asking for more audits of case files

WEST VALLEY CITY Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - The police chief wants a thorough review of cases his department has recently handled.
WEST VALLEY CITY Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - More cases will be reviewed by police auditors according to West Valley’s police chief.

"Did we do everything we were supposed to do? Let's go back, we're going to double check this,” said Chief Lee Russo last month. “If something is wrong we're going to address it."

That was Chief Russo's statement after calling for an audit last month of recent sex crime and domestic complaints filed at West Valley.
Chief Russo doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing but is taking this approach to make sure everything is being handled properly.

"If somebody's done something wrong, something inappropriate then they stand to be disciplined," Russo stated.

He’s now expanding the audit to include all cases handled by his detectives to make sure they were done right.

“We're very pleased the chief has been very open about this process,” says Alana Kindness with the Utah Coalition Against Sex Assault. “And has been willing to look at how past cases have been investigated and if there are any concerns there that he discovers then actively addressing those concerns moving forward.”

His approach is having an affect in the courtroom. Already hundreds of cases filed by the controversial narcotics unit were dismissed.
In West Valley's case against Yesha Garcia, some of the charges were dismissed because the case was tainted.
Garcia's attorney says it's become an issue for him and jurors.

“In our case they were allowed to be seated and they said they could be fair,” says Clayton Simms.

Simms is cautiously optimistic of this new approach by the new police chief.

“You have to give applause in trying to correct that problem but that doesn't solve that problem that exists,” he says. “Moving forward, is it going to be corrected? Hopefully yes.”

Chief Russo says the sex crimes-domestic violence audit should be ready next week and plans to release it publicly.


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