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SLC releases letter Burbank refused to read in sexual harassment case

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Posted at 12:41 PM, Jun 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-12 15:41:01-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The mayor’s office has released the letter that former Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank refused to read in response to sexual harassment allegations leveled at the police department.

Mayor Ralph Becker’s office released the statement in response to a public records request by FOX 13 on Friday. Burbank claims that Becker was going to force him to read the statement publicly, or he would be fired. Burbank refused to read it and resigned, he said.

Here is the text of that letter:

“I’ve come to realize that I dealt with the sustained allegations of sexual harassment against then Deputy Chief Rick Findlay in a manner that was inadequate, disrespectful, and detrimental to both the individuals involved and the City as a whole.

Simply put, it was a significant lapse in judgment on my part to not discipline DC Findlay in the manner I had agreed to in my meetings with my colleagues from the Mayor’s Office, Human Resources Department and City Attorney’s Office. What DC Findlay did was wrong, and I commit to all of you that all claims of sexual harassment or discrimination in this Police Department will be taken seriously. When Mayor Becker said this type of employee behavior was unacceptable, he was absolutely right.

I recognize now that I have let down the officers of this Department, Mayor Becker, and the people of Salt Lake City. I want to personally apologize to the Mayor, the City Attorney’s Office, and our Human Resources Department for not listening to your advice and not following your direction in this serious matter. And most importantly, I need to express my deep regret that the female officers involved here have had to go through this difficult experience. 

Mayor Becker and I have agreed that I have a short period of time – until the end of this year – to demonstrate significant progress to address the cultural issues related to the treatment of women in the Police Department and institute the changes as directed by the Mayor’s Office.  I will work hard to earn back the trust of this administration and the public.  And I fully expect to have another conversation with the Mayor, my employees, and the public in six months’ time so that we can all evaluate whether progress has been made.

It was never my intent to harm anyone or make any of my officers feel as if they were not valued.  I realize, though, that my lack of action in this matter had that very effect, and for that I am deeply sorry.”