CEDAR CITY – A sheriff’s deputy is facing a misdemeanor charge for allegedly sharing protected information he obtained through a police database.
Iron County Sheriff’s Deputy Kellen Hudson, 30, is charged with a class B misdemeanor for unlawful access or use of criminal investigations and technical services division records, according to a court summons filed Wednesday in Iron County Justice Court.
The charge, filed by Cedar City Assistant Attorney Randall McUne, is based on information provided by Parowan Police officer Mike Berg. Parowan Police Department was given the case following an internal investigation by the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is an employee personnel issue and as such is confidential. We cannot provide the results or any measures we may have taken during or after that internal investigation,” Sheriff Mark Gower said. “After the internal investigation was completed, to avoid any appearance of conflict or favoritism, we asked Parowan City Police Department to review the case, which they were willing to do. We greatly appreciate their help in this matter.”
Likewise, Cedar City Attorney Tyler Romeril received the case due to a conflict of interest by both Parowan City Attorney Justin Wayment and the Iron County Attorney’s Office.
Hudson, a decorated officer, is still actively employed as a patrol officer and enjoys the full support and confidence of the sheriff.
“Deputy Hudson continues to be a fully functioning patrol officer who I support and stand behind 100 percent,” Gower said.
According to the Parowan Police report, Hudson conducted a routine traffic stop on Enoch resident Matias Quintanilla on June 29, 2016. At that time, the deputy pulled information about Quintanilla from the Utah Criminal Justice Information System.
Following the stop, Hudson shared some of the information he collected on Quintanilla with another employee at the sheriff’s office, the report states.
Quintanilla later learned what Hudson had allegedly done and filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office.
UCJIS is limited to law enforcement users only and the information is not allowed to be disseminated to anyone including other officers unless they are involved at the scene. However, the information in the system is largely public data that can often be found on various internet sites or court files.
“It’s protected information because of the source of the information,” Parowan Police Chief Ken Carpenter said. “An officer could look up the same information using the internet and share it with someone and they wouldn’t get in any trouble. But an officer cannot share the information in that system with unauthorized persons. The dissemination of that information is on a need-to-know basis. But most of the information is public. There’s some of it that’s confidential like addresses, social security numbers, but for the most part you can get it online or by going down to your local courthouse.”
Police officers go through hours of training before using the system and are required to sign a type of contract promising not to share the information they find there, Carpenter added. Law enforcement is also required to have ongoing training.
UCJIS training in Iron County is every two years at the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies are also trained annually on new changes to the system, Iron County Sheriff’s Lt. Del Schlosser said.
Hudson was asked by Berg to come into the Parowan City Police Department to be interviewed. The deputy initially agreed but then changed his mind saying he wanted an attorney present. The officer asked Hudson to make an appointment with his attorney but didn’t hear from him for another 15 days, the report states. By then, Berg had already sent the investigation to the city attorney.
Quintanilla said he was glad to see that the Sheriff’s Office took his complaint seriously.
“This kind of stuff has to stop and officers have to be held accountable for their actions,” Quintanilla said.
Hudson was not available for public comment and calls to his St. George-based attorney Lamar Winward went unanswered.
Cedar City Attorney Tyler Romeril said the allegations against Hudson will likely be referred to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, the agency that certifies police officers.
“Whenever there are criminal charges or an investigation for allegations of wrongdoing those things have to be reported to the certifying agency,” Romeril said. “I don’t know what they will do with them but they do have to be reported.”
POST does not comment on open cases.
The maximum jail sentence for a class B misdemeanor is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, if convicted, it’s not likely Hudson will get jail time but more likely he will be placed on bench probation and given a fine, Romeril said.
Hudson has not yet received the summons notifying him of the charge. Once served, he will need to contact the court to schedule a hearing in front of a judge.
The Utah Peace Officer’s Association recognized Hudson in 2014 with a purple heart medal following an incident the previous year when Hudson was shot and injured in the line of duty.
Read more: Name of deputy shot in Kanarraville released; shooter flown to hospital
In December 2013, Hudson responded to Kanarraville on reports of a suicidal subject. Grant Louis Biedermann opened fire on the officers as they arrived on scene, shot Hudson between his bulletproof vest and above the belt. The deputy was transported to Cedar City Hospital and released that same night.
A jury convicted Biedermann in 2016 for two counts of aggravated assault.
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