Police: Utah fire chief didn't report medic in morphine thefts

Local police are upset that they were denied access to information about the case; county police are investigating the theft charges

By Police1 Staff

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Police are upset that a Unified Fire Authority paramedic who allegedly stole morphine and may have been connected to a rash of thefts, was allowed to resign without their knowledge.

"A paramedic had actually been caught taking drugs out of the safe,” Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo told Fox13. "That firefighter was allowed to simply resign without any further investigation or that being reported to law enforcement."

Russo said the medic may have been connected to a number of 2013 thefts of morphine and fentanyl at several stations. In some cases, the drugs were replaced with other substances.

The paramedic resigned in June, Russo said. Police were not notified and found out three months later from a third party at Unified Fire Authority after they reached out to conduct an investigation and were denied access.

"We haven’t been granted access to any of that information," he said. "We asked for the records, and that request has been declined."

United Fire Authority Chief Michael Jensen referred all questions to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, which is conducting its own investigation. So far, no charges have been filed.

Russo also sent a letter to the county’s district attorney, questioning whether Jensen’s role as city council chairman is a conflict of interest.

"I’m not sure we should have elected officials who are also chiefs of police and fire chiefs," Russo said. "I think that’s a conflict of interest, and that certainly might come into play in this instance."

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