Police, Guard Face Penalties in Bikini Film Shoot
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah National Guard members could face career-ending penalties for allowing a risque video featuring bikini-clad British women firing high-powered weapons and riding in tanks to be partially filmed at a military training camp, the agency's top commander told state lawmakers Thursday.
A separate investigation, meanwhile, has found that a state police officer was on duty while participating in the video shoot earlier this year and that the models brandished three state-owned guns.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton told lawmakers Thursday that the handful of Guard members involved could face fines, demotions or forced retirements when an investigation is complete. Those involved, which include combat veterans and Purple Heart recipients, didn't follow guidelines for private use of military equipment at Camp Williams, he said.
"Obviously, it's a big hit. It's a total violation of the values we espouse," Burton said, according to a recording of the hearing.
Military equipment can be seen in the video, including tanks that may belong the Guard, but no military weapons or ammunition are shown.
"I'm also very concerned about them and their personal state of mind that would have allowed them to do something like this," Burton said.
Two members of a Utah state SWAT team also appeared in the video in uniform, and one officer's daily log shows him on duty at the time, said Capt. Doug McCleve , a Department of Public Safety spokesman. Though three of the guns used belong to the state, the ammunition came from Big Shot Ranch, a private gun club where most of the video was shot about 35 miles west of Salt Lake City.
"There will be action taken, there is no question," McCleve said. "To what level or extent depends on the information that we find."
Though officers often give training and information to groups like scout troops and elected officials, the video was not a sanctioned activity, he said. Wearing agency uniforms in the video would be a violation of agency policies.
The video is a promotional "behind the scenes" look at the making of this year's "Hot Shots Calendar." It features British women wearing camouflage bikinis and other tight clothing while shooting guns, riding in military-type vehicles and striking seductive poses.
When the video surfaced last week, Lt. Col. Steven Fairbourn , a spokesman for the Guard, said an initial investigation found several of their members took part in the video after getting permission from a senior official who shouldn't have given them the green light.