Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

Salt Lake deputy police chief accused of sexual harassment resigns

By McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

Published: Fri, June 6 9:45 p.m. MDT

 A Salt Lake police deputy chief on leave amidst allegations of sexual harassment has resigned.

A Salt Lake police deputy chief on leave amidst allegations of sexual harassment has resigned.

(Shutterstock)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake police deputy chief on leave amidst allegations of sexual harassment has resigned.

The department accepted the resignation this week of Deputy Chief Rick Findlay, who has been on paid administrative leave since November, ending the internal affairs investigation into harassment claims.

Findlay submitted his resignation April 15, according to the letter. He was found to be in violation of harassment prevention policies, conduct unbecoming a police employee and accessing inappropriate materials on a department phone.

Chief Chris Burbank said in a final determination letter dated Wednesday that while serving as a SWAT lieutenant, Findlay learned subordinate officers in his unit were sharing suggestive images of one of the department's female officers. Rather than report the activity, Findlay asked for an electronic address for the image, according to the letter.

Findlay accessed the image in early 2011, and using a department-issued smartphone showed the picture to as many as four subordinate officers while outside the office, the letter states.

Findlay also acquired images of two female officers in bikinis and showed them to another officer in the department. While traveling out of state on business with one of the female officers, Findlay reportedly showed the image to a man who was professionally acquainted with her, according the letter.

Burbank noted in the letter that Findlay's actions were unacceptable but did not warrant termination.

"Your contributions to the Salt Lake City Police Department throughout your career have been significant. It is unfortunate that your lack of judgement in this instance has such adverse impact," Burbank said in the letter. "Because of the involvement of subordinate officers, it has additionally called into question your ability to remain a leader in the organization."

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero

Related Stories
Recommended
1. DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
June 6, 2014

If the former Deputy Chief did something criminal, then prosecute him. If he saw or shared some "suggestive" but not pornographic pictures, a quick counseling session and back on the job should have been sufficient. If worse than that, fire him.

But, Chief Burbank has had this guy on paid (not unpaid!) administrative leave for more than six months, basically a paid vacation until his retirement eligibility date was reached.

Either the guy was a bad cop who should be fired, or he got shown extreme favoritism in being allowed an extended paid vacation and retirement pay and benefits for life.

Frankly, I think that Burbank's favoritism (or his excessive public expression of outrage over the Deputy Chief's conduct) in failing to actually punish him if it was real misconduct, or wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' money on a guy who did not deserve the retirement is a worse scandal that needs to be investigated.