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Utah Parole System Under Review as Fugitives Commit Violent Crimes

Victor via Creative Commons

Police in Utah are increasing efforts to deal with a growing number of parole violators committing violent crimes in Salt Lake County. In the meantime, the department of corrections has accepted the resignations of two division of Adult Probation and Parole officials.

A number of offenders have walked away from the Salt Lake City halfway house, Fortitude Treatment Center, including Cory Lee Henderson who shot and killed Unified Police Officer Doug Barney last month.

Unified Police Lieutenant Lex bell says there are about 250 fugitives in the Salt Lake Valley and the system is overwhelmed. 

“I think what’s happened recently is there is just a trend of violent offenders who it seems probably should not be given the option to go to some of these programs where they’re allowed to go to some of these programs where they’re allowed to walk out,” Bell says.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert told reporters at his monthly televised news conference on KUED Channel 7, there have been breakdowns in efforts to protect the public. He’s calling for a review of the Department of Corrections, Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, the court system and local law enforcement to crack down on the problem.

“And as part of this audit, if we find individual employees that have been derelict in their sworn duty, they will face discipline up to and including termination,” Herbert says.

Unified Police announced Wednesday the formation of a taskforce to track down offenders. The Utah Department of Corrections announced Thursday Executive Director Rollin Cook has accepted the resignations of Geri Miller-Fox, and Wendy Horlacher, both officials with the division of Adult Probation and Parole.

The Department is also reviewing the placement of residents currently in community correctional centers and has placed a hold on all new probation or parole violator placements at those centers. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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