'Life has moved on': Colorado City police chief lauds progress in Short Creek

St. George News, Utah/November 30, 2021

By Sarah Torribio

Colorado City — The Colorado City Marshal's Office has been getting more calls for help lately. The increase isn't caused by a spike in crime, says Colorado City Police Chief Robb Radley, but instead by an increase in trust.

In August of 2019, Radley was sworn in as chief of police for the twin cities of Colorado City and Hildale, which straddle the Utah/Arizona border. He took over a big job that started under the guidance of his predecessor Mark Askerland, who served a 15-month tenure. Radley was tasked with rebooting a police force that had been put under a 10-year injunction by a federal judge. The reputation of the marshal's office had suffered along with its legal standing.

In 2017, a federal court determined that Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona — a region collectively known as Short Creek — had for decades operated essentially as an arm of the Fundamentalist LDS Church. This included the marshal's office, which jurors concluded was guilty of denying lawful policing to residents who weren't part of the polygamous denomination.

Alleged misconduct included searching nonbelievers' property, arresting people without probable cause and ignoring criminal acts like underage marriage on the part of FLDS Church members.

The Colorado City Marshal's Office was ordered to revise its policies, adopt new internal affairs guidelines and hire two new officers. The changes were to be made in consultation with a mentor for the chief of police and under the supervision of a police consultant.

Radley said he kept his aims simple."I just wanted to come out and do unbiased policing, treat everybody with respect and do what we were supposed to do," he said.

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