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SLC deputy police chief's indiscretions known months before he retired

Published June 18, 2014 7:23 am

Investigation • Rick Findlay violated policy on sexual harassment but received benefits.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Witnesses said a Salt Lake City deputy police chief showed off a nude photo of a subordinate, and the deputy chief admitted to kissing a subordinate, too, according to new documents obtained by The Tribune.

The deputy chief, Rick Findlay, was allowed to retire on June 4 when he reached 20 years of service — the time when he became eligible for benefits — though documents indicate the allegations and facts were known to Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank months earlier.

Burbank, through his assistant, said on Tuesday he considers the matter closed and declined to comment.



Art Raymond, a spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, said he was not aware whether Becker had read the documents in the Findlay case, but the mayor does not micromanage city departments.

Raymond said Burbank has "full discretion" to handle personnel issues like the Findlay matter.

The city on June 4 announced Findlay's retirement and disclosed Burbank's disciplinary letter to him. The Tribune filed a records request for additional documents. The city provided them on Friday.

The documents elaborate about one photo Findlay was alleged to have shared with other officers in 2011. It was a nude photo of a female subordinate that Findlay had on his phone, according to two witnesses who spoke with internal affairs investigators. In 2011, Findlay was a lieutenant in charge of the SWAT team.

When interviewed by city investigators in 2013, Findlay denied showing the nude photo, according to a report from the Salt Lake City Civilian Review Board and another report by the city's human resources department.

The review board met to consider the Findlay case Dec. 12 and found he violated the city's sexual harassment policy and committed conduct unbecoming of an officer.

A human resources manager issued that department's report three weeks later, on Jan. 2. That report says Findlay also obtained a photo of a female subordinate in a bikini by accessing the woman's phone without her permission and forwarding it to himself. Findlay, according to the human resources report, said he does not remember showing people the bikini photo and would not have done so.

"Findlay's responses to the allegations were evasive, incomplete and directly contradicted by witness statements," the human resources report says.

The Tribune has been unable to contact Findlay for comment.

The two reports also address how Findlay twice kissed a subordinate, though one he apparently did not supervise. The woman said she was not coerced. The kisses violated no city policies, but both reports cite the incidents and raise questions about Findlay's judgment.

Burbank's June 4 letter to Findlay, which closed the matter for the city, did not discuss the kisses. Burbank refers to the nude photo as one of multiple "sexually suggestive" images.

The chief agreed that Findlay violated the harassment policy as well as a department policy on appropriate use of electronic messaging and that Findlay committed conduct unbecoming an officer.

While scolding Findlay, Burbank also noted his service to the department and said "your conduct did not rise to the level of termination."

Had Findlay been terminated or left Salt Lake City police prior to this month, he would have had to find a job with another police force to gain retirement benefits.

Instead, he will be able to receive half of what he earned in his three highest paid years in Salt Lake City. Findlay received $119,784 in gross compensation in fiscal year 2013, according to Utah's Right To Know.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle

 

 

 

 

 

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