Ex-police union president on leave pending theft investigation

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9 2013 2:50 p.m. MST

This 2001 file photo shows then-Police Association President VP Tom Gallegos (left) during a press conference. Gallegos, a detective with the police department, has been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation regarding a possible theft of union money.

Keith Johnson, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — The former head of the Salt Lake Police Association has been on administrative leave since August as police investigate a possible theft of union money, Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank confirmed Wednesday.

"The Salt Lake City Police Association identified a potential theft occurring and in an effort to police their own and be accountable for their actions and take responsibility for their money, they brought it to the police department. And we conducted an investigation and we are near a conclusion," he said.

The focus of that case, Tom Gallegos, a detective with the police department, has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. In November, Mike Tuttle was selected to be the new union president.

In August, a message appeared on the Salt Lake Police Association's website saying, "The SLPA board initiated an internal investigation. It has now been turned over to the Salt Lake Police Department for review. Because the investigation is ongoing, the board cannot comment further."

The message has since been removed from the website.

Burbank said Wednesday the alleged theft did not involve a large amount of money. However, "the investigation identified several things that were brought to the attention of the leadership of the organization."

The chief — who said he couldn't release many details — indicated that the FBI was also asked to conduct a portion of the investigation.

No criminal charges had been filed as of Wednesday in connection with the theft. Burbank expected his office would soon turn its case over to the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office to be reviewed for possible charges.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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