Sexual harassment led to a police demotion | ParkRecord.com

Sexual harassment led to a police demotion

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A member of the Park City Police Department sometime in 2007 was demoted after a sexual-harassment case, the department said, an acknowledgment coming months after police investigators would have finished their probe.

Police Chief Lloyd Evans refused to discuss the case, and he declined to make public whether the person demoted is a man or a woman. The Police Department did not publicize the sexual-harassment case until the late-April release of its annual crime report.

The report lists 12 additional internal investigations, with the demotion being the most serious punishment outlined in the report. The other investigations did not involve sexual harassment.

Evans said demotions in the force usually involve a loss in rank, pay or both, but he did not provide details about the sexual-harassment case. He indicated the case did not warrant the person’s firing.

"There are few things that are for-sure termination issues," Evans said, listing mishandling a gun or using egregious force against a person as being among the charges against an officer that could lead to a firing.

According to the report, the sexual-harassment complaint was sustained by the Police Department, the only one in 2007 to be so. sustaining the complaint, the police determined there was enough evidence of a violation of a department policy occurring, the report said.

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The Police Department typically closely guards claims made against the force. The reports are distributed to elected officials, top-ranking City Hall officials and the media. Annual crime data usually highlights the reports.

In 2006, the department listed nine investigations into officers.

The 12 other claims made against the Police Department in 2007 did not result in demotions, although two other cases — classified as stemming from hostile work environments — ended with counseling, the report said. No case was appealed to the Police Department’s Complaint Review Committee, a panel that hears disputes between the public and the department.

Some of the other complaints against the Police Department included:

Four instances of reports of excessive force. The department exonerated the officers. Evans said officers physically handled the people in the four cases, and weapons were not used. He said investigators found the officers’ force was warranted.

"My hope is we would never have a complaint like that. But the reality is not everyone goes to jail willingly," he said.

One instance of resorting with a drug user. Evans said the Police Department did not finish its investigation because the officer resigned. He said the officer left the force for reasons other than the probe.

One case of officer misconduct involving the officer refusing to file a report. The Police Department exonerated the officer, but the person was counseled.

One report of an officer violating a traffic law and two complaints of unspecified officer misconduct were unfounded, meaning the claim was false.

A separate part of the Police Department report indicates officers used force 11 times in 2007. Six instances involved a gun and five were classified as physical force. Evans said officers did not fire at anybody, but they drew their gun in the six cases.

The five physical-force cases involved police officers putting someone on the ground or pressing them against a wall during an arrest, Evans said.

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