LOGAN — Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen is defending his decision to re-hire an officer, who recently quit the University of Utah Police Department amid complaints that he mishandled calls from Lauren McCluskey, days before she was killed by her estranged boyfriend. Miguel Deras resigned last week from the U of U, to accept a new position as a patrol officer for the Logan Police Department.
Jensen said the choice to offer a job to Deras came after an “in depth investigation” that included his involvement in the McCluskey case. During that inquiry the University of Utah Police Department reported that there was nothing done by Deras that was “really that wrong.”
“There was no egregiousness in his behavior,” Jensen said. “He responded to a couple of calls, not even calls that were regarding violence. It was a ‘keys locked in’ and some of those kinds of calls that Miguel responded to. Subsequent to the McCluskey case though, he reportedly did not follow protocol with specificity and got a reprimand, based on the fact that he missed a detail in what he was supposed to do. Again, not an egregious issue.”
Deras is originally from Logan. He initially worked for the Logan Police Department, as an animal control officer, while attending the police academy. Upon graduation, he moved to Salt Lake.
In addition to a background check, Jensen also took into account Deras’ past work experience. While he was previously employed in Logan, he showed a professional work ethic and demeanor.
“So again, a known quantity. A quality young man. A quality employee that we look forward to having in our police department. This is the kind of people we seek out.”
McCluskey’s family is currently suing the University of Utah for $56 million in a civil case. However, Deras has been dropped from that case.
Jensen has spoken at length with Deras and his fiancé about returning to Logan. He feels confident that the newly hired officer will work hard, learn and succeed.
“I make each decision in hiring with that same notion, a great deal of thought, a great deal of concern, because we want people that we can believe in. Who can come and be a part of our community, not just as a police officer but as a citizen. Obviously, when they put on the badge, they can represent this community fairly and safely. I do believe that Miguel is that type of person.”
During the first couple days on the job, Deras and another newly hired officer attended a two-day domestic violence training. Jensen noted that it had nothing to do with the new officer’s previous experience. He explained, Logan City’s protocol is that all officers have backup when responding to domestic violence calls, to help them defuse the situations.