A northern Utah Sheriff has resigned and the state’s attorney general is looking into allegations of possible mistreatment of inmates at the Daggett County Jail.
Daggett County jail cells are empty and now the county is without a Sheriff. In February, the Utah Department of Corrections pulled 80 inmates and money for housing those inmates from the Jail, moving them to the Utah State Prison as investigators looked into potential misconduct by staff. The initial findings of the probe led the county to fire two officers and accept the resignation of the jail commander. Corrections has since asked the Utah Attorney General’s office to review the case. Dan Burton, a spokesman for the Attorney General says the office has made it a priority because of its impact on the county.
“We urgently desire to see that justice is done,” Burton says. “So we’re trying to be as careful and as methodical as we can when reviewing it, as we do with all of our cases.”
On Monday, Susie Potter, a spokeswoman for the Daggett County Sheriff announced Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen had resigned. Potter says Jorgensen left because he felt a clean break with a new sheriff would facilitate the ongoing investigation. She says Jorgensen is involved only to the extent that alleged misconduct happened while under his command.
Meanwhile, Potter says jail employees have the option to work, doing basic maintenance and upkeep. Others have taken vacation time. But without revenue from the Department of Corrections, Potter says the jail has had to dip into the county budget to pay employees.
“Obviously it can’t go on indefinitely,” Potter says. “We’re a small county with a very small tax base. So the county can’t carry it forever. It is a concern.”
The Daggett County Commission is meeting Tuesday and will appoint an acting sheriff. Because the sheriff is an elected Republican, the Daggett County Republicans are in charge of making the official recommendation.