Today’s Salt Lake Tribune has an interesting article on law enforcement in Hilldale, UT and Colorado City, AZ. It seems that some of Warren Jeffs’ loyalists included those who are charged with enforcing the law in these two communities:
While Warren Jeffs was a federal fugitive sought on sex crimes charges, the town marshal of Hildale and Colorado City wrote to the polygamous leader, pledging his allegiance and asking for directives for the community’s police force.
The marshal, Fred Barlow, updated Jeffs on the department and his own family, according to the seized letter. The towns are the home base of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, led by Jeffs.
“I do not know exactly what we have ahead of us but I do know that I and all of the other officers have expressed our desire to stand with you and the priesthood,” Barlow wrote. “I fill [sic] that without the priesthood I am nothing.”
The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board has brought three misconduct charges against Barlow, who could lose his law enforcement certification. Utah is also looking into the Jeffs and Barlow connections. The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy’s board is investigating the entire marshall’s office, which includes Barlow and four full-time deputy marshalls. They all have law enforcement powers in both Utah and Arizona.
The Tribune obtained a copy of the letter after a records request. Federal authorites confiscated the letter, and other items when Seth Jeffs, Warren’s brother was on 10/28/05 in Colorado.
The letter starts off with an ominous salutation:
Dear Uncle Warren,
I would first like to acknowledge you as the one man that was and is called of God to stand at the head of his priesthood and the Kingdom of God on the earth in this day and time. I rejoice in the peace that comes over me when I follow the directives that you have sent to me through Uncle William. I have felt a unity between the peace officers. They have all stated to me their desire to follow the directives that are placed before us. I feel that I am the weakest one among them, but I want to fill the position that you would have me fill and do the job the way that you would like it done.
Now, I don’t know whether Sheriff Barlow is actually Warren Jeffs’ nephew; but, the likelyhood in this polygamous community is probably pretty high. Regardless, when the sherriff is that close to such a powerful religious figure who himself holds so much power over the people in these two communities, well–it just can’t be a good thing. There is no attempt to give even the appeareance of a separation of church and state here, with Barlow acknowleding Jeffs as his personal priesthood leader, as well as a desire to follow Jeffs’ directives.
Barlow then brings Jeffs up to date on the new law enforcement members currently training, as well as an attorney general’s investigation for civil rights abuses:
The two men that are in the police academy in Utah are graduating on Oct. 21, 2005. They will still have to pass the waiver in Arizona before we will be able to use them in Arizona. They last word that I had received through Sam Roundy was to use Sam Johnson fill [sic] time. We will continue with that directive unless you would like us to do something different. I have not had any official word on the investigation of our police department but my understanding is that Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has formally requested that the Department of Justice Alberto Gonzalas [sic] investigate the Colorado City/Hildale police Department for civil rights violations.
Barlow then describes further trouble with some officers about to be “decertified” and an uncertain future:
Also on the 19th of October, Arizona Police Officers Standard and Training board will meet to decide to decertify Sam and Vance. I do not know exactly what we have ahead of us but I do know that I and all of the other officers have expressed our desire to stand with you and the priesthood. I fill [sic] that without priesthood I am nothing. The community has been getting harassed by many news reporters. They are asking us why no one will talk to them. As law enforcement we get many calls and I have explained to them that the media have never told the truth about this people and that the people are not trying to justify themselves to the world. One more thing, I have received several calls from Washington County Detective Nolan Grey about the 2 [name withheld] girls, [names withheld] that have been reported missing. He stated that The Division [sic] of Missing and Exploited Children are wanting to get involved.
It’s amazing the amount of detail and law enforcement information that Barlow is passing along to Jeffs in this letter. Even more troubling is Barlows’ expression priesthood loyalty to Warren Jeffs.
The letter concludes with a report on a family Barlow is apparently caring for as well as further loyalty pledges to Jeffs’ priesthood authority:
I need to report on the family that has been placed in my care. As I reported in my last letter we had a beautiful little son. We now have 3 girls and 3 boys, myself and Rebecca White Barlow Jeffs, making 8 total in our family. Our son Fred Jr. has started school this year at Twin City Academy. We have been reading both morning and night and have felt how much sweeter the family has been. I am praying for you to be protected and yearn to be with you again. I know that God is the helm and that his work will go forward. I rejoice in the tests and hope and pray that I will not offend God. I pray to be always filled with his spirit and to live by inspiration. I hope to hear any directives that you have for me. I know that I still have thing to purge out of my life and have bee [sic] striving to get them out. I know that Heavenly Fathers help I can succeed. I love you and acknowledge you as my priesthood head. And I know that you have the right to rule in all aspects of my life. I yearn to hear from you.
It appears as though this letter, assuming it can be authenticated, would be an instrumental piece of evidence in the government investigations of the Hilldale and Colorado City law enforcement officers. It demostrates the almost blind like authority that Jeffs exerts over these communities, including its law enforcement officers. It is as though Warren Jeffs had, and to this day maintains his own private police force, headed by what he and they feel to be a religious prophet. Very dangerous!