SPRINGVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A petition to remove an officer in Springville is gaining traction online. This comes after a resident was pulled over by officers in early April and said she felt her rights were violated during the peak of the pandemic.
Springville resident Amannda Renter said she was pulled over with her daughter in the car at the beginning of April.
“We’re already out of the car, the engine was off, then I saw police lights behind us,” said Amanda.
Amanda says she felt unsafe when three officers approached without masks and gloves. She says she was asked if she had drugs on her and asked her daughter if Amanda gave her anything to hold onto.
“They opened her diabetes bag and touched her test strips that come in contact with her blood,” said Amanda.
The Chief of Springville Police Department, Craig Martinez, said the officer who touched the daughter’s diabetes bag was wearing gloves and can be seen in-dash footage, which, they will not release until after Amanda’s court date. Chief Martinez said after watching the footage, he saw officers followed protocol.
Amanda said one of the officers, Sgt. Vince Mendez, was aggressive.
“I got my phone out, to try to record the conversation and he took my phone from me,” said Amanda.
After the incident, Amanda reached out to Springville police to file a complaint.
“I sent a bunch of emails, I called several times, and I just got the run-around, I was trying to get a complaint form, I couldn’t get one from anybody, I asked several times,” said Amanda.
So she brought her concerns to Facebook. That’s when she says she got more feedback about Officer Mendez. Hundreds of comments filled Facebook posts, mentioning complaints with the officer.
“Just my post on Facebook was shared over 100 times, and then a petition was started,” said Amanda.
The petition now has over 5,000 signatures, but Chief Martinez says that doesn’t line up with their records.
“Of all the comments that we’ve seen and all the claims that we’ve seen, from harassment to stalking to mistreating folks, only one person going back through personal files, only one person has filed an official complaint with us,” Martinez.
“They think he verbally mistreats folks and I can tell you this, Sgt. Mendez does a good job, he’s done a good job, he’s had a very lustrous 20-year career, with very few official, I’m going to come in, sworn statements, complaints,” he added.
Amanda said her only goal is to hold officers accountable.
“Just because he’s a police officer, he’s not above the law, and he should be accountable for his wrongdoings, especially being in a position of authority,” said Amanda.
Chief Martinez said officers should be held accountable, but there’s no proof Mendez did anything wrong.
“When it comes to cause for concern, Sgt. Mendez and I have talked, we have discussed some things and I can tell you now, this has been harder on him and his family than anything, I mean he reads these things and he takes it to heart,” said Martinez.
Chief Martinez said he knows many people do not like law enforcement but wants people to know officers are doing their job to protect their communities, especially during these trying times.
Martinez said he welcomes any complaints and hopes the public feels comfortable coming to him with concerns. He also added the department is looking into body camera’s for officers if it makes the budget. Martinez said they had a few body cameras in the past, but they had difficulties adjusting to them.