LOGAN — The Logan City Police Department has launched an internal investigation for Officer Miguel Deras, who was hired by the department last year after leaving the University of Utah Police Department in the wake of a murdered student-athlete.
A press release from the LCPD said that a weekend news story alleged Deras kept explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey on his cellphone. He later showed off the pictures to a fellow officer days before she was killed by her estranged boyfriend.
The statement said, “We are very concerned about this allegation and are starting our own internal investigation to determine the facts.”
Deras is originally from Logan. He initially worked for the Logan City Police Department as an animal control officer while attending the police academy. Upon graduation, he moved to Salt Lake.
While working for the U of U police department, he had been assigned to investigate McCluskey’s case in October 2018. She reported that someone was threatening to release compromising photos she had taken of herself if she didn’t pay $1,000.
Frightened by the demand, she paid the money and then sent copies of the messages and the photos to Deras as evidence. He reportedly saved the pictures on his personal phone. And days before McCluskey was killed by Melvin S. Rowland, Deras showed off at least one of the images to a male co-worker and bragged about getting to look at them whenever he wanted.
In September 2019, Deras was interviewed and re-hired by the Logan police department. He later accepted a position as a patrol officer.
At the time Deras rejoined the department, Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen said the choice to offer a job to the former animal control officer came after an in-depth investigation that determined Deras had done nothing wrong.
In addition to a background check, Jensen also took into account Deras’ past work experience. While he was previously employed in Logan, he had shown a “professional work ethic and demeanor.”
Sunday’s press release explained that, following the investigation, the department will take whatever action is appropriate based on the facts they discover. No further comment will be issued until the inquiry is completed.
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.