SOUTH SALT LAKE — Criminal charges were filed Friday against a veteran Unified police detective accused of stealing about $8,500 from the department.
Kenneth Callahan, 49, was charged in 3rd District Court with misuse of public money, a second-degree felony, and official misconduct, a class B misdemeanor. A warrant was also issued Friday for his arrest, with bail set at $25,000.
Callahan has been with the Unified Police Department for 19 years and has been placed on administrative leave.
The charges against him stem from an audit earlier this year of the money used by narcotics detectives to purchase drugs during their investigations.
In some drug investigations, detectives request money from the department, which is then often given to a confidential informant working with police to buy controlled substances from drug dealers. Officers obtain the "buy money" from the department using funds transfer receipts known as "chits."
According to department policy, each chit contains a case number and an explanation of how the money will be used. Once an informant purchases drugs with the money, the drugs are given to police and the drugs are stored as evidence. The officer records on the chit how much money was spent, what kind of drugs were purchased and the quantity, according to charging documents.
During the audit, investigators determined that Callahan's records "were not accurate," said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. The department then asked Salt Lake police to conduct an independent investigation.
Investigators looked at all of Callahan's chits from Oct. 8, 2013, to Jan. 9, 2015, and found "less than 10 chits" showing that the detective properly received the money and logged the drugs into evidence. But investigators found 46 cases when Callahan received money for drug purchases using a chit, "but no controlled substances were ever logged as evidence," charging documents state.
"In those 46 cases, no money was ever returned to UPD. Many of the cases for which the defendant submitted a chit for controlled purchases of drugs were cases that were not even drug-related cases," the charges state. "In some other cases, (Callahan) submitted a chit for a controlled purchase of drugs several months after those cases were closed."
The total that the detective received for drug purchases in those 46 cases was $8,485, according to the charges.
Hoyal said the Unified Police Department holds its officers to a high standard.
"The public expects us to police our own officers and we take that duty very serious," he said. "We have a great relationship of trust with the communities we serve and want to maintain that relationship."
The Unified Police Department is also conducting an internal investigation into Callahan.