Northern Utah prosecutors are forming a regional task force to fight environmental crimes such as dumping hazardous materials.
The task force, which is still being organized, would include the area's experts on hazardous materials and environmental law, said Weber County Attorney Reed Richards."We really don't have a good system to properly investigate a complaint that there's been environmental damage," he said. "A police officer isn't trained well enough to go out and look at it and see if it's something that shouldn't happen."
Richards said the panel probably would include prosecutors and experts from Weber, Davis, Morgan, Box Elder, Rich and Cache counties. Ogden Fire Department hazardous materials technicians and drug agents who encounter chemicals in illegal laboratories also may be tapped.
"You need to have some kind of a team approach where you involve health inspectors from the various counties and people who are out and about in the county like building inspectors and fire inspectors, and the state and the FBI," he said.
Davis County Attorney Mel Wilson has assigned deputy county attorney Brian Namba to participate. Namba is attending seminars at the University of Utah to develop his knowledge.
Wilson said the counties also will be able to share resources.
"We can all chip in for the special equipment to assist in investigating and prosecuting these cases," he said.
Richards said there have been only a few environmental crimes prosecuted in Weber County over the past five years, although the problem seems to be worsening as illegal dumpers discover rural Utah.