The Moab Police Department came under fire last year after failing to save Gabby Petito's life. The cops refused to arrest her then-fiancé, Brian Laundrie, after a worried 911 caller told authorities they had seen the 23-year-old hit her during an argument. Weeks later, the budding social media influencer died at Laundrie's hands. Her body was discovered near Grand Teton National Park on Friday, September 19.
One year later, the tragic situation has far from impressed Moab locals, several of which admitted to not trusting the small town's police force.
"I've had bad experiences in the past," a shop owner by the name of Barbara Lawley said in a recent interview. "I think it's been a good old boys situation, and it's still a good old boys situation."
Added Lawley, "The Moab [PD], everyone in town thinks they're jerks. If I had a problem, I would want to call the Grand County Sheriff's Department."
Jared Sanford, a tour guide for the Moab area had similar concerns, explaining they are very "old school police officers" who run a "good boys' group" amongst themselves.
50-year-old Moab local Lesley Parker shared that the town's police are known to cause disturbances at restaurants after their shifts end.
"They'll just sit at the bar and be loud and obnoxious. They put out a bad vibe," Parker said. "It's like, 'I'm bigger. I'm better. I'm untouchable.' So the locals, we don't trust them, we don't like them."
Addressing the bungled traffic stop that left Petito in tears, Parker thought it was clear the cops were "buddy-buddying with Brian," noting how they had fist-bumped him in the footage and commiserated over their own relationship troubles.
"I felt sorry for her [Gabby], especially [with] the tears, you could see the emotion coming through her," she continued. "I wish the police would've contacted the parents knowing that they were so young. I know they were over 18 [but] they weren't that old."
"I was just driving by in my truck. I saw them at the back of their vehicle," the witness recalled. "They were kind of yelling and then Brian swung at her, I believe it was his left hand ... She fell a little bit into the side of the van. She definitely felt it."
The city later launched an investigation into how the police officers on the scene handled the traffic stop situation. Despite finding the cops made several mistakes, including failing to get a statement from the original 911 caller, one of the officers was later promoted.
The Moab residents exclusively spoke to The Sun.