UT Code Enforcement Officer Shot, Killed During Visit to Homeowner

16 Aug, 2018 Liz Carey

                               

West Valley City, UT (WorkersCompensation.com) – Per authorities: A man said a code enforcement officer, “Got what she deserved,” after shooting and killing her on Aug. 9.

Kevin Wayne Billings of West Valley City, UT has been charged with first degree aggravated murder after he shot Jill Robinson, a 10-year employee of the West Valley City code enforcement office.

Authorities said Robinson was making a follow-up visit to Billings house on Aug. 9 when he shot her. Witnesses said, according to police reports, that Billings poured a liquid thought to be gasoline over Robinson’s city car and set it ablaze. Billings is also alleged to have shot Robinson, although it is unclear whether he shot her before setting the vehicle on fire. Officials said they believe Billings then tried to escape through a hole a fence after setting his neighbors’ house on fire as well.

Code enforcement officers are employees of the city and attend police officer training, but do not carry weapons. Code enforcement officers focus on violations of housing codes, a spokesman for the city said during a press conference, such as disabled vehicles parked in yards, litter and solid waste in yards, and inappropriate storage of furniture or other items outside of houses.

Officials said they could not remember any other code enforcement officers being threatened.

Witnesses on the street told the Deseret News that many people had been cited for cleaning up their lawn and that Billings was one of them. Police officials said Robinson and Billings had had numerous contact before for other code violations.

One witness told KUTV Billings said, “After 40 years of harassment, the b**** got what she deserved.”

Officials said Robinson was hired in 2008 as the city expanded its code enforcement department. Typically, the official said, code enforcement officers write warning notices to residents who are in violation, before a follow-up inspection. If an issue is not corrected, the code enforcement officers usually send a letter of violation giving the home owner 10 days to correct the violation. After the 10 days, code enforcement officers cite the home owner and begin court proceedings.

It was unclear where in the process Robinson was with Billings and his home.

Kelvin Beene, president of the American Association of Code Enforcement, said officers face similar threats regularly.

Beene said at least 10 code enforcement officers across the country have been killed while on the job over the last 20 years. 

"We're threatened on a regular basis, some of which you take with a grain of salt, others you have a concern with," Beene said.

Beene said the fatalities included Rodney Morales, of Aurora, CO, who was shot and killed in 2008; and Mickey Write, of Tennessee, killed in 2001. More recently, in June, a 75-year-old Marietta, GA woman was arrested for making terroristic threats against a code enforcement officer in that city.

Beene said more training needs to be done to help code enforcement officers learn how to diffuse tense situations and to spot the signs of mental illness.

Since the shooting, West Valley City authorities said code enforcement officers have stayed out of the field but will return to work this week. Initially, a city spokesman said in a press conference, the officers will only be issuing letters, but will go out in pairs if the need arises. No information was given on whether or not the city would be stepping up protection efforts, or training efforts for code enforcement officers.

Sam Johnson, communications director for the city, did not return calls for comment.


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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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