Financial Consequences for not following the Rules

Lisa Steed was a Utah Highway Officer. In the beginning, many thought that Officer Steed was a good officer. So what changed? Some say that a simple contest to be named “Officer of the Year” was at the root of the problem. She wanted the title and easiest way to accomplish was to get drunk drivers off the road. It sounds like a worthy goal. She did in fact win the award by making over 200 DUI arrests in 2007.

The problem with Lisa Steed is that she stepped away from the rules. She didn’t follow procedure. She hurt the reputation of innocent people and put a black mark on the reputation of the Utah Highway Patrol that isn’t going away anytime soon.

One of most public pieces of evidence that caught the attention of those who had been arrested by Officer Steed were pictures taken from her own dashcam. In 2009, her dashcam shows her tasering a man who refused to get out of his car and asked for a lawyer. As it turned out that man was found to be sober and the story went very public.

The gentleman, Ray Jones, went to court over the issue. The state, meaning the taxpayers of Utah paid Ray Jones $40,000. Lisa Steed was reprimanded, again.

In the beginning it was probably just minor things like not doing things in the proper order. Eventually Officer Steed was actually turning off her microphone so there would be no verbal records of the arrest. She admitted this is a court case in 2010.

It seems like reprimands and issues just kept coming like waterfalls. However she did not get terminated from the position until November. It may be in part that the department  wanted to separate themselves from the allegations and possibility of the lawsuit.

The problem is that all the DUI arrests made by Officer Steed are in suspect. Certainly, many of the people she arrested were breaking the law, but her credibility is such a big issue that there is a class action lawsuit.

Michael Studebaker is one of the leading lawyers for the class actions lawsuit. He states that he has been contacted by at least 40 people who are claiming they were wrongfully arrested on DUI or drug charges. The class action lawsuit was filed December 14th, 2012 in the 14th District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Apparently at least some of the Utah citizens have had enough of this officer who thought the rules simply didn’t apply to her.