Utah cops fired for bypassing parking tickets in favor of free pizza

Photos: Justin Sullivan, Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Salt Lake City Police Department recently fired four officers after an investigation revealed they were accepting free pizza in exchange for not writing parking tickets to the pizzeria’s owner and employees.

Local CBS affiliate KUTV exposed the scheme, which was surprisingly well-coordinated: “If I see a menu of the restaurant in the lower left-hand corner of the vehicle, it is either an employee or the owner’s [of the restaurant] vehicle and we are not to cite those vehicles,” one of the officers tells KUTV. The scam went on for two years, during which time the officers could have written an estimated three tickets a day outside Sicilia Pizza, for a total of about $19,000. (That is a lot of free pizza.)

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The pies-for-parking deal was a regular occurrence, according to the officer who confessed his participation. He tells KUTV the cops were on a first-name basis with pizzeria employees, and “we would go behind the counter and get our own pizza.”

Eventually, one of the officers involved reported the conduct, at which point the city investigated and fired him and three other officers who were found to also have marinara sauce on their hands. At least one of the fired officers says he was never a part of any such plot, and accuses the department of using the story to get rid of “troublesome” officers.

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Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.