An eight-month investigation by the state of Utah has found more than half of the police officers in the southern town of Hildale practice polygamy – that is, having more than one spouse.
“Hildale has 13 officers who are certified by Utah, seven by our records are polygamists,” Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Hildale, Utah, and sister-city Colorado City, Ariz., have been havens for polygamists
He says some on the force were aware of the illegal activity by fellow officers, but did not take any action.
And though Shurtleff himself ordered the inquiry, he’s not pursuing criminal charges on any of the accusations.
“We just don’t have the resources to start charging bigamy,” Shurtleff told the paper.
The attorney general, who maintains police officers need to be held to a higher standard, is instead looking to strip the officers of their ability to enforce the law.
The population of Hildale and its sister city, Colorado City, Ariz., include many members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which practices polygamy. The more well-known Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has disavowed its previous doctrine that polygamy was acceptable.
The mayor of Hildale, David Zitter, is reportedly not pleased with the probe, calling the attorney general’s polygamy investigator, Ron Barton, “a nuisance,” adding that Shurtleff was making “a direct assault on polygamy.”
“I don’t know how you can see it any other way,” said Zitter, who told the Tribune Shurtleff is reneging on his claim he wouldn’t target polygamy itself, but other crimes such as sex with a minor.
Though the state is not pressing charges, it is forwarding the results of its investigation to Washington County Attorney Brock R. Belnap, who has the option of starting his own criminal probe or declining the case.