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Records: Colorado City Officer Has Criminal Past

A police officer recently hired by the Colorado City Marshal's Office has a criminal history that disqualifies him from working as a peace officer in Arizona, records show.

A federal judge will decide in the coming weeks whether to disband the Marshal's Office, which is shared by the polygamous communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.

Law-enforcement agencies typically run background checks on recruits before they seek state certification. But the Marshal’s Office never provided officials with a full review of Taylor Barlow, said Jack Lane, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

“There was a burglary he was a part of in 2004,” Lane said. “He admitted to the sale of marijuana in either 2008 or 2009, which is an automatic disqualifier. And then he had theft as a means of transportation. I think they stole a water truck.”

Some crimes happened when Barlow was a juvenile, Lane said, and the Marshal’s Office may have thought he could get a waiver.

Barlow is certified in Utah, where he continues to patrol.

The judge has options other than disbanding the Marshal’s Office. He could appoint a monitor to oversee court-ordered reforms, or he could install a receiver to run the agency that a jury ruled has practiced religious discrimination.

But Barlow will never be a police officer in Arizona, Lane said. And all of the agency's other officers face decertification in the Grand Canyon State.

If the Marshal’s Office doesn't get dissolved, it could end up without any officers who can work on both sides of the border.

“They’d have to probably ask for the assistance of both the county and the state to police the community until at such time they could hire new officers,” Lane said.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.