PROVO — Former Lehi police officer Arthur Henderson may never wear a badge again.
Friday morning, an administrative law judge for the Department of Public Safety recommended that Henderson lose his Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy certification for four years.
Henderson is in the Salt Lake County Jail awaiting a preliminary hearing in 4th District Court on five first-degree felony charges of attempted aggravated murder for allegedly shooting his estranged wife's boyfriend and firing at Lehi officers after a morning chase through a residential neighborhood on Jan. 27.
He is also charged with aggravated assault, criminal mischief and three charges of unlawful discharge of a firearm — all third-degree felonies in connection with the incident.
But those charges played no role in Friday's ruling. Instead, it was based on a justice court conviction for a class B misdemeanor for simple assault that occurred in March 2005 involving Henderson and an old friend. The pair had a history of mutual conflict.
While the most recent charges were not considered during the administrative review — which occurred before the shooting — they will be considered in a future setting, said Dan Altenes, POST investigation supervisor.
The POST council will meet in March to consider a handful of cases — including Henderson's. It can either accept the judge's recommendation or impose a different — and possibly stronger — licensing recommendation, Altenes said.
"The POST council can still increase that recommendation," he said. "I'm not going to try to second-guess them, to say what they're going to do. (But) I'm sure the Lehi incident will play heavily on that."
The POST council has the option to accept the judge's recommendation of a four-year suspension without considering the Lehi incident, putting that matter off until court proceedings are completed. A felony conviction carries immediate and permanent license revocation.
The revocation process begins when an administrative complaint is filed. After the filing, POST conducts a hearing, inviting both the state and the individual to present their sides of the case.
Henderson did not respond to the administrative complaint, and he did not attend the hearing Jan. 20 — one week before the shooting, Altenes said.
The judge allowed the state to present its case. Because Henderson did not appear, the judge held him in default and ruled in favor of the state, Altenes said.
If Henderson is acquitted of the pending felony charges and wants to get back into law enforcement, he will be required to go through the police academy again.
"A four-year suspension is kind of the kiss of death," Altenes said. "(Henderson) would . . . have to go through the academy again (and) is anyone going to hire him with that record?"
Altenes said he planned to deliver a copy of the decision to Henderson on Friday afternoon. Henderson is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail because he formerly worked for the Utah County Sheriff's Office as a correctional deputy in the Utah County jail.
In charging documents filed in court, police say that on Jan. 27, Henderson chased his estranged wife, Natalie Barnes Henderson, 37, and her boyfriend, Craig Trimble, 35, down a residential Lehi street, shooting at their car from his truck. The documents say Henderson then rammed into their car, got out and fired at Trimble, who was driving.
Henderson then turned and fired at the responding Lehi police officers, sending bullets through the windshield of a patrol car and the minivan of a passer-by, according to the documents. Lehi police officers shot Henderson in the leg and foot and arrested him, the documents state.
The Lehi police officers involved in the shooting are all back to work after taking some time off to recover and receive any requested counseling, said Lehi Police Sgt. Darren Paul.
As with any case where "deadly force" is used, a protocol team has been set up to review the situation. Findings will not be announced until all the toxicology reports have been received and all of the officers' reports filed, said Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson.