Department says officer who refused parade assignment has resigned

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  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 13, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    Liberal Jimmy asks, "Could not imagine if I were gay and this obviously bigoted officer was to pull me over. Was I really speeding or do you not like the fact I have a rainbow flag emblem on my vehicle?"

    This is not a specious question. In the seventies, a group in Northern California recruited ten black, ten white, and ten Hispanic men, all of whom had gone at least a year without a ticket, and placed Black Panther Party bumper stickers on their cars.

    Within a month, all thirty drivers had gotten moving vehicle citations.

    The authors of the study considered (but didn't) repeating the study with each car sporting two bumper stickers--one with the Black Panther Party and one which said "Support Your Local Police".

  • USNGary San Diego, CA
    June 12, 2014 7:23 p.m.

    Father of Four, There is a reason why requirements to join the Navy are higher than the Army.....

  • USNGary San Diego, CA
    June 12, 2014 7:09 p.m.

    Mark, If I found someone else to cover for me then yes I could not march in a parade.

    Wilf, You are saying his problem is his feelings that he felt uncomfortable? would you feel comfortable marching with the Black Panthers? I be you would be begging someone to take your spot with something you didn't agree with.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    June 12, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    I honestly don't get the problem here. When police are at parades, no one thinks they are actually marching in the parade as a participant. They are there for security. Do you people who support this officer think that police officers should be able to refuse to work at a Nazi parade? I doubt if any police officers are ardent Nazi supporters, but nevertheless, they have to work the stupid parade because crowd control and security IS THEIR JOB. This officer should have done his job and stopped being a troublemaker. Seems like he was trying to cause problems and stir up controversy.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 12, 2014 12:21 p.m.

    @ Liberal Ted

    Glad I gave you the opportunity to vent. Hope you feel better now.

    My point remains valid whether or not the PD improperly released information to the public. This parade didn't have to be a statement about him in any way. He made it so. If the PD improperly released this information to the public, then consequences should follow there as well. But their mistake does not erase his own.

    I don't give a flip what Houston PD officers' opinions are about anyone or anything when they're on duty. All I want to know is, "Can I count on you to do your job?" This officer's answer to this question was, "Not necessarily." IMO, this disqualifies him for service. I know I wouldn't want to help pay his salary.

  • LiberalJimmy Salt Lake City, UT
    June 12, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    There is no gray area at all regarding this matter. The officer swore an oath to "serve and protect" ALL not some or most. You either obey the order/assignment or face the consequences! What would be next applying the same backwards logic those of you which support this officer seem to be using in order to excuse his actions. Refusal to properly investigate a crime which involves gays? Could not imagine if I were gay and this obviously bigoted officer was to pull me over. Was I really speeding or do you not like the fact I have a rainbow flag emblem on my vehicle?

  • Raynesalot West Valley City, UT
    June 12, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    I am amazed as I read these comments how many of the ones that are against the officer have taken only the fact that the officer asked to be reassigned AT THE PARADE as not willing to protect and to serve. He was OK protecting and serving, he WAS NOT ok performing. I also agree with so many, the police department should have handled this in private if they could not accommodate the request they should have addressed that in private with the officer. It appears that the police department has some bias and bigotry of their own to deal with.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    June 12, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    The motorcade is an elite group, well trained in coordinated activity. It isn't so easy to find a replacement.

    Good riddance to this man who somehow thinks his religion puts him above his duty.

  • EightOhOne St. George, UT
    June 11, 2014 9:46 p.m.

    geez, you would've thought they asked him to lead the parade with a rainbow flag on his bike or something!!

  • Pianoman Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2014 7:56 p.m.


    Actually, I'm pretty sure he could find the Police Department liable for defamation of character. It damaged his character as a private citizen and cost him his job and therefore he could win.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    June 11, 2014 7:36 p.m.

    While the issue of addressing a request to trade for a security or patrol assignment could have been accomplished quietly, it seems this is a continuation of SLC PD outwardly trying to make political statements in support of LGBT politics. Last year Chief Burbank did not just work the parade, he additionally, along with a few members of the SLC PD marched as part of the parade. Now this year The PD makes their political statement placing an officer on administrative leave and denouncing his reassignment request with "We don't tolerate bias and bigotry in the department” Seems like a reasonable request that could have been worked with without taking a personnel issue public unless the PD were looking to make a public statement with it all.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    June 11, 2014 7:20 p.m.

    Why, IF the officer asked to trade for a parade security or patrol assignment, did the SLC PD ever come out with a public statement at all? Why make public statements like: "We don't tolerate bias and bigotry in the department, and assignments are assignments," as the SLC PD Spokeswoman Laura Jones was quoted as saying in a previous article where it was also noted the officer had been placed on administrative leave. IF there was any way to accommodate the officer’s request, the law requires such in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. IF the accommodation couldn’t reasonably be made, an explanation should have been given the officer and the matter closed. This seems like this should have been handled as a private personnel matter between officer and manager.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    June 11, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    @Liberal Ted

    "Could you imagine if they hired a gay person and asked them not to be gay when they worked?"

    I can. Remember "Don't ask, don't tell"? Religious schools and hospitals do it all the time. Now, you'll say, "well, religious organizations have a right to expect their employees to live up to their religious codes and beliefs!" I agree and my response to that will be, "well, any organization has a right and an expectation that the employees they hire will do those things the employer expects them to do." It has to work both ways.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    June 11, 2014 12:29 p.m.


    "Yup - a lawsuit is coming and it will be a slam dunk for the cop."

    I wouldn't think so. He quit, he was not fired, he was not reprimanded, he quit.

    "Employers - including police departments - are required by law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to be exact) to make "reasonable" religious accommodations for their employees. "

    Yep, but you forgot sub paragraph (j): "...unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business." It's management's call to accommodate--not the employees--and as long as management can show "undue hardship" as a result of the accommodation they can refuse the request.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    June 11, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    So now employers have to examine the philosophical view point of emplyees before assigning them duties?

    The vegan who works at McDonalds can refuse to serve, or cook, foods containing meat? The boss must reassign them to a job with no contact with meat.

    Pacifists can refuse to provide services to members of the military?

    Jehovah's Witnesses can refuse to work with people who give blood, or who have received transfusions.

    This whole thing sounds like "conservative political correctness" to me!

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    The funny thing is the police have time for gay parades and giving officers time off to march in the parade. However, when my neighbor places a call to have a homeless guy removed from their driveway that had been sleeping there all night and refusing to get out of the way for the resident to move their car out. They were too busy and told the resident to wait until he leaves.

    Thanks Burbank! Great help from the police there!

    Give them the millions for their building and they feel more emboldened to implement their liberal in your face agenda.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    Karen R.

    Houston, TX

    Based on your statement. The police force should be allowed to discriminate against people of faith when hiring? You can't ask someone to not be something they are when they hire on. Could you imagine if they hired a gay person and asked them not to be gay when they worked? How do you all of a sudden become straight for your shift? The same with people of faith. You can't ask them to throw away their beliefs while they are on the clock. "I'm sorry sergeant, but you are not allowed to pray over that fallen officer; the political correctness police are on their way to strip you of your badge" Would that make sense?

    Besides people are assuming that this officer wouldn't put his neck on the line to protect the LGBTQ community. How quick to judge....he never said he wouldn't protect them. He simply didn't feel like he should be forced to support them in such a way as riding in the parade and waving to the crowd in support of that lifestyle. This could be avoidedifan activist police officer just gave him a differentassignment.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 11, 2014 12:07 p.m.


    Yes, I have traded assignments as well. I am aware it happens. But how often do you get to go to your superior and say "hey, I can't do X because it makes me uncomfortable, can you find someone else with different standards?" You should never ask someone to do something you yourself are uncomfortable with. That's just being an honest person.

    What kind of Cop gets to do that? It's one thing to say "Hey, my son has a football game, can I trade you shifts" and another to say "Hey, blood makes me squirmy, can you go to that crime scene for me?" If you find that you could be in a morally compromising situation, avoid it! If as a person you find it wrong to use firearms, don't become a cop. If serving gay weddings makes you squeamy, don't open a wedding cake business.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    Karen R.
    Houston, TX

    I'm sorry that you are having a difficult time understanding what happened. They wanted the officer to be in a position of support for the parade. He didn't feel comfortable with that, citing religious reasons. The police force then ran to the media and leaked everything to the public. Of course the officer got his attorney and they responded to the accusations, to give their side of the story. Something a reasonable person will always do.

    Why did the chief allow this internal affair, get leaked to the courts of public opinion? Because they already bullied this officer inside the department for his religious beliefs; and decided to shame him in the public light.

    This is the issue of secular left wing people shoving their atheists and secular philosophy down the throats of people of faith. Of course the left wing people feel they are 100% correct and everyone else is misguided and feel entitled to force everyone to believe and behave as they do. Sound familiar to the accusations against people of faith?

    Thefact is,ChiefBurbank has shown his bigotry and hate towards people of faith and he runs a department that follows suit.

    June 11, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    Police departments should not be used in political statements. They are to protect and serve everyone.

    When an employer allows a workplace to become so difficult to work in that the employee resigns, it is called "constructuve discharge". The officer has a case, and I hope he wins.

    Why is it that when gays boycott a cake maker it is celebrated, but when an officer requests reassignment at a parade due to religious reasons he is vilified?

    Oh, I remember: Liberal = hypocrite

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 11, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    @ 2 bits

    So the officers on motorcycles at the head of the parade have no obligation to protect the citizens if something should happen - an assault or attack of some kind? A little kid runs out into the street? They have no duty to act? They get to just sit on their bikes and watch the other officers handle things?

    @ Liberal Ted

    The officer made the parade about himself at the very moment he voiced his objection. As his attorney stated, he was concerned about how he would be perceived. He wasn't concerned about living up to his oath or performing the duty the tax-paying citizens were paying him to do. No, what was most important to him was that the world should not misunderstand what his personal position was about a parade.

    He placed his personal beliefs before his sworn promise to refrain from doing that very thing.

  • mightyhunterhaha Kaysville, UT
    June 11, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    I've work in Law Enforcement for over 26 years. I have traded assignments without repercussions. Your argument is invalid. Supervisors who are "badge heavy" or have the belief they are all powerful are the only one who would create this type of problem.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    June 11, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    The real issue seems to be left out of the article and the comments. How did this information regarding a request on an assignment in the SLC police department get to the press. This is a personnel issue and should have stayed in-house. It should have never gotten into the press. It seems, at least to me, that whom ever inside the SLCPD brought this out in the open should be fired and his supervisor should be disciplined. Chief Burbank has failed in his duties, again.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    Karen R.
    Houston, TX

    You are wrong in your comment. HE did not make the a parade a statement about his religious beliefs. It was the Chief and the spokesperson for the department that ran out to the media to wave their flag of liberalism and to shame the officer. Rather than dealing with it internally, they leaked all of the information and wanted the media, gays, democrats and liberals know that the police force here will obey Obama and any left wing nut job; over protecting peoples and employees constitutional rights and freedoms.

    For a parade that is supposed to be about understanding, they expressed a lot of hate towards someone of belief.

    Why can't we have different opinions and still get along? If we can't figure that out, then there is no reason to reason with nations like Iran, North Korea, China etc. After all they're never going to change their opinion, just because we throw glitter on them. Tolerance is something that goes both ways, not just the gay way.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 11, 2014 10:29 a.m.


    Did you read the earlier article?

    He offered to work security at the parade, instead of actually appearing in the parade. He didn't "refuse to protect" ANYBODY.

    He actually offered to protect people (which is a police officer's REAL job). He just didn't want to be IN the parade... (which if you think about it... really isn't an officer's REAL job).

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 11, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    It was his choice to resign and there are plenty of small towns in Southern Utah or Nevada where he can go work and be surrounded by like minded people. As our parents often told us, you have the right to make make your own decisions but you don't get to pick the consquences of them. Salt Lake police did the right thing because when you sign up to protect and serve the people you don't get to choose which ones you support.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 11, 2014 8:38 a.m.


    I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I saw the duty rosters being made, and had to do a few myself.

    My characterization is accurate. The military is not a democracy.

  • Unclefred Ticonderoga, NY
    June 11, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    Please Read these two lines:

    "He asked to trade for a security or patrol assignment, according to the statement, and was placed on paid administrative leave."


    The department is treating papers he submitted as a resignation

    Now, where does it say he refused anything?
    Where does it say he actually resigned?

    The country we live is getting scarier every day...

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2014 7:52 a.m.


    Dear Sir, first may I say that I think you are making a broad assumption in stating "If he refused to provide security at General Conference because he hated Mormons". Because someone disagrees with the behavior of another person or group does not mean he "hates" the person or the group. We who disagree with homosexual behaviors do not hate the homosexuals - please try to understand that. Also, in my personal opinion, if a gay officer were to refuse to ride in a Mormon or Christian leaning parade, I find that totally acceptable. That however would be different than if he/she were assigned to provide security for the parade. It is okay if people disagree with others. It is not discrimination or hate to disagree with someone else's beliefs.

    June 11, 2014 7:35 a.m.

    Gary, the Navy must be different from the Army. We just did what we were told, without question and without hesitation.

    Statman, think about what you are proposing now. "Give me my way in everything I want or I will quit the department and sue claiming you infringed on my religion."

    I honestly hope he decides to sue. Please. As President Bush once said, "Bring it on."

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    June 11, 2014 7:26 a.m.


    "Employers - including police departments - are required by law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to be exact) to make "reasonable" religious accommodations for their employees. And there is very clear case law precedent in very similar circumstances (a religious Chicago cop asking for reassignment from standing watch at an abortion clinic. The court ruled that a reassignment under such circumstances is a "reasonable" request."

    Big difference between a pride parade and abortion. No Church (least of all the LDS Church) has come out with official policy or commandments that members must avoid the appearance of supporting LGBT. Most Christian churches HAVE commandments against having or contributing to abortions.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 11, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    People are starting to splice hairs in an attempt to justify this officer's actions. HE made this parade a statement about his religious beliefs, no one else, and it simply wasn't necessary. Do you look upon the other officers that did fulfill their duty as condoning anything? If not, why not? And if so, on what basis?

    I think it's a tribute to the SLC PD that, despite the environment of victimhood being fostered by some, only one of their officers succumbed to it. Everyone else remained committed to their oath to the community and to each other regardless of their personal beliefs. Everyone else remained a professional. My congratulations to the department.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2014 5:51 a.m.

    Gary, so you could refuse to march in a parade in the Navy, if ordered to do so?

    Yeah, didn't think so.

    As far as a law suit, yeah, it seems that is what is being set up. But I doubt he will have a case. First of all, the officer was never disciplined, also he quit the job himself. It sort of makes me wonder why he did not wait for the investigation to conclude. Secondly, I doubt a lawyer could show that the order to drive the parade route was illegal or not proper. Remember, this is a legal parade that has filed all its paperwork. I imagine officers are ordered to do the exact same thing for other parades. I imagine the order was to clear the parade route, not be in the parade itself. In other words I imagine the dept looks at it more as escorting the parade, rather then being in the parade.

    Well, we'll see.

  • statman Lehi, UT
    June 11, 2014 3:39 a.m.

    Yup - a lawsuit is coming and it will be a slam dunk for the cop. Employers - including police departments - are required by law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to be exact) to make "reasonable" religious accommodations for their employees. And there is very clear case law precedent in very similar circumstances (a religious Chicago cop asking for reassignment from standing watch at an abortion clinic. The court ruled that a reassignment under such circumstances is a "reasonable" request. The Chicago PD reassigned him to a precinct that didn't have any abortion clinics in it so the issue would never come up again. The case is Rodriguez v City of Chicago.

    SLC is going to be settling this one. They're on the wrong side of the law.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 11, 2014 12:18 a.m.

    Whether the officer was asked to participate in the parade or to provide protection or traffic control doesn't matter. The point is that he felt "uncomfortable" about LGBT. That kind of personal bias against a class of people ia unacceptable, all the more in public service.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    June 10, 2014 11:22 p.m.


    Your reason #3 is very telling about the thinking of many gay activists and supporters. In their minds there is only room for agreement/endorsement or hate. There is no way to politely disagree or have a different conviction with out it being labeled hate. That's pretty limited and myopic view.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    June 10, 2014 11:11 p.m.

    Darrel, My father served as a commander in the Vietnam War. Your characterization is inaccurate and overblown.

  • USNGary San Diego, CA
    June 10, 2014 10:41 p.m.

    Darrel, this is a heckuva lot different that a war or riot. This was a parade, he asked to serve and protect. Doesn't sound to me like he was trying to not get away of his "duty". I have seen many times where people swap an assignment in the Navy and the leader not lose respect but earns respect by helping his Sailors out!

  • USNGary San Diego, CA
    June 10, 2014 10:35 p.m.

    He was not there to protect and serve, in fact, he asked for that detail instead of riding in the parade. Get your freaking stories right, leave him alone you bullies.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 10, 2014 10:30 p.m.


    Sorry, that's not how it works. You don't get to pick assignments. In police units, and the military discipline is a huge issue. If a leader cannot get his subordinates to do their assigned duties for things like are they going to obey him in times of war or riot?

    It may seem trivial, but it gets out of hand easily. Unit leader posts a duty roster, and if people start swapping shifts and duties, one of two things invariably happens. People don't show up for duty (and whom do you hold accountable?) or you become perceived as a pushover and lose the respect of your men because of the precedent you set. "Well you let Officer Smith out of duty for this, why can't I for this reason?"

    He signed up voluntarily to be a police officer. When you pick up a stick, you pick up both ends, not just the part you like.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    June 10, 2014 10:11 p.m.

    Come on people, he didn't refuse to work, he didn't refuse to provide security, he refused to participate in a parade as one of the lead guys. Stop making him out to be the villain you want him to be.

    All these analogies are not representative of a guy who was willing to work and protect, but not willing endorse.

    It is not the job of the police department to endorse anything, it is to protect the public, something this guy was willing to do.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    June 10, 2014 10:04 p.m.

    We should have a freedom parade with this officer as the Grand Marshall.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    June 10, 2014 9:49 p.m.

    I remember about 10 years UTA started operating buses and TRAX on Sundays, in large part to accommodate those who were traveling to the LDS General Conference.

    If one of the TRAX operators or bus drivers refused to work that day, because they wanted to honor the Sabbath, or because they didn't agree with the LDS religion, they should have been disciplined.

    This entire story is one big non-event.

  • Chancey Sandy, UT
    June 10, 2014 9:47 p.m.

    No Parade should use on-duty police. Part of the cost of the parade should be security. Providing security for Parades could easily be provided by off-duty police officers, thus earning them extra well-deserved pay and also, as such would be voluntary, so that no officer would be required to ride in any parade he/she may not support. Easy solution.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    June 10, 2014 8:50 p.m.

    He did not refuse to provide security, read the article. "He asked to trade for a security or patrol assignment." He did not want to be riding in front of the parade looking as if he supported the convictions celebrated in the parade, but he WAS willing to provide security - therefore doing his duty like you, FatherOfFour, did yours. How much more clear does the article need to be?

    I hope he sues, this is worthy of such a lawsuit.

  • kam Layton, UT
    June 10, 2014 8:49 p.m.

    Father of four, the officer was not refusing to "protect" anyone, he was refusing to be an active "participant" in the actual parade. That is a big difference that the media has glossed over and has only been brought to light due to a legal statement by the officer's attorney. the officer found a replacement to ride in the actual parade and the officer was willing to perform the task of security at the parade. This is a far cry from the way the media has portrayed this and doesn't deserve *any* of the controversy it has garnered. He may serve the public, but he doesn't have to change his opinions or views to do so, no matter who disagrees with him.

    June 10, 2014 7:55 p.m.

    1. We are a Right To Work state and he willingly resigned. He has no case in any court at all.
    2. I did not agree with the Iraq war but I fought in it anyway because I was a soldier and that's what soldiers do. As a police officer you do not get to choose who you protect and serve. You are a servant of the people. All of the people.
    3. If he refused to provide security at General Conference because he hated Mormons, I bet the tone of conversation here would be different.

  • Jim Cobabe Provo, UT
    June 10, 2014 7:32 p.m.

    What happened to the hue and cry about unfair discrimination?

    I'm certain that the officer in question realized that any appeal to legal protection would end up in federal court. I suspect it may anyway, because some "pride" advocate is sure to disapprove of the officers choices, and claim that "rights" have been offended.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 10, 2014 7:23 p.m.

    I hope he gets the meanest, toughest, most aggressive and successful lawyer in the state.

    We need an investigation into why we are paying Salt Lake City police officers to be part of the "Pride" parade, which is a tacit endorsement of their message.

    There is nothing wrong with providing security for the Pride events, just as with any other group gathering (Cinco de Mayo, Pioneer Day, Jazz championship--well maybe someday...). But to actively perform as a unit in a parade is just wrong use of tax payer money and police officer time. To order someone to do so should be an illegal order which can be legitimately disobeyed.

    I think maybe about a million taxpayer dollars, taken from the Police Department budget and specifically the Chief's salary and benefits package, would be good compensation.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    June 10, 2014 6:37 p.m.

    I sense a lawsuit coming on.

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    June 10, 2014 6:34 p.m.

    I'm sorry that someone can't state an opinion and have someone else do the parade. Makes me sick. Thanks Salt Lake police dept. Lost me.