The president of the Salt Lake police union said most Salt Lake officers and deputy sheriffs will not be voting for incumbent Sheriff Pete Hayward in the upcoming election.
"I know for a fact they're going to support (Aaron) Kennard," said David Greer, president of the Salt Lake Police Association."They can't openly defy Pete in public, but the feeling I get is a good number of the line deputies (from the sheriff's office) are supporting Kennard's campaign," he said.
The union announced Thursday it is endorsing Kennard, a captain with the Salt Lake Police Department,
who is hoping to spoil Hayward's fourth bid for a four-year term as sheriff of Salt Lake County.
In a tersely worded announcement, Greer said, "Sheriff Hayward has destroyed any working relationship between his agency and local agencies."
He said Hayward has refused to combine forces with other agencies and cooperate in such efforts as the Metro Narcotics Task Force, the Metro Gang Unit and other combined efforts.
But Hayward angrily denied the "unsubstantiated" accusations and said he has worked together on many task forces and projects with other agencies that have been for the community good. He said he would support more consolidated efforts such as a combined metro police force, but hasn't seen much support for the idea from city officials or the citizens of the county.
Hayward the union endorsement was just another example of Kennard's political desire to get publicity at any cost.
"I'm upset at this jerk's continuous attacks," the sheriff said. "He (Kennard) keeps repeating himself without offering any solutions. He's trying to make a split with us and the city police force and I'm not going to let that happen."
Greer also said Hayward has placed lives at risk by his refusal to accept custody of many arrested suspects. While acknowledging the sheriff is under court order to keep the jail population down, Greer said other actions should have been taken, such as an arraignment court where all prisoners could at least be fingerprinted and booked.
"Sheriff Hayward's refusal to accept custody of lawfully arrested persons has made police officers' jobs much more difficult; chronic offenders laugh in our face as we issue citations; officers are regularly assaulted by offenders who know there is little risk of going to jail for their conduct . . ."
Greer and Kennard have said the room Hayward recently made in the jail for housing arrested prostitutes is a "political ploy" and they question whether officers will continue to be able to jail prostitutes after the election.
Hayward denies any politicking with the jail.
"We stand by the record we have in the sheriff's office and the service we give to the people in the county," he said. "It's very obvious from the support we've had in the past (from businessmen and residents) as to who they're going to support."
The state AFL-CIO has endorsed Hayward, but Greer said that makes "little sense" because of the sheriff's "dismal record on labor issues with his own deputies" and his refusal to allow his deputies to organize a union.
But AFL-CIO President Ed Mayne said he met with Hayward a few years ago about allowing the deputies to organize. "Pete's response to us basically is they have a right to do what they want," he said.
Mayne said it makes "good political sense" for the Salt Lake police union to support one of its own in Kennard, but he said the state organization is supporting Hayward because of his record for law enforcement to the public.