A Pleasant Grove man at the center of a standoff on March 16 has been released from jail after spending seven days in custody. Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith said recent bail reform legislation is the reason Robert Sterling Clark was released from jail.
*** PRESS RELEASE March 24, 2021 ***
On March 16, 2021 Robert Sterling Clark, age 37, of Pleasant Grove, was arrested and booked into jail. Pleasant Grove Police responded that afternoon to reports of a man firing a rifle into the air at his home. During that hours long standoff, where Officers and Deputies from many different agencies, along with a SWAT team, Clark was seen going in and out of his home. He also continued firing shots, including at least one at a group of police officers there at the incident.
Clark has a history of interactions with law enforcement and Police believe he struggles with mental health challenges. A priority in cases like this is getting needed help for people involved. But in some cases, like this one, where the individual suffers from mental health issues, public safety must be a priority above even immediate help for the suspect. When a person is firing shots then protecting the public is paramount along with bringing that person safely into custody, as was done in this case. But when their actions create a real risk of deadly consequences, help for the suspect must come in a setting where they cannot choose, again, to put the lives of others, or their own life, in danger.
Yesterday, March 23, Clark was ordered by a Fourth District Court Judge to be released from jail without having to post bail. Sheriff Mike Smith had the following to say about Clark's release:
"This story is a perfect example of why the Sheriffs in Utah have fought to have bail reform repealed. It is not acceptable for people who are a danger to themselves and others to be released back into our communities without receiving the help they are in need of. Similar stories have played out across the state. Bail reform needs to end!"
"Bottom line this is a failure of the justice system to keep our community safe as well as provide help to the offender. Bail reform has got to go. Supporters of bail reform should be ashamed of the damage they are doing to our criminal justice system."
Clearly Mr. Clark needs help for his mental health related issues. But the public also needs to be protected from actions that put the lives of others, and his own, at risk. Those who supported this kind of bail reform don't seem to understand that this "reform" cannot be a "one size fits all" solution!
Here is a link to a news story by KSL TV?s Andrew Adams where a family member also believes the justice system failed Clark by releasing him.
For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah County Sheriff's Office.
(801)404-1912 - Cell
Twitter: @SGTCannonPIO or @UCSO