SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Police Department is planning a predetermination hearing against Detective Jeff Payne, which could end with him losing his job. His record disciplinary record will likely be used against him.
Documents obtained by KSL show Detective Jeff Payne was disciplined for sexual harassment in 2013. The letter sent to him by then-Chief Chris Burbank states he created a hostile work environment for a female officer over an extended period of time. It also says he sent her a “profane” email through police servers.
This can be used against him in his predetermination hearing for his arrest of Alex Wubbels. Former prosecutor Kent Morgan says the sexual harassment claims are relevant to the hearing. He says, “It shows [Payne’s] disdain for women.”
Payne was also written a letter in 1995 after he was involved in a chase along with the Utah Highway Patrol. He was suspended for 80 days.
This particular hearing could affect his standing with the SLCPD, but, Morgan says if Payne were to have a similar hearing with Peace Officers Standards and Training, Payne could lose out on being a cop anywhere. “If I was employed by the Salt Lake City Police Department, I would be very concerned that they were doing a predetermination hearing at this point because it would look like they are trying to fire me,” Morgan says.
Morgan says Payne could try to say he was following orders form a superior, but, that might not work in this case since officers are not soldiers. “The fact that a supervisor tells you to do something while you’re a peace officer on the scene, and you know all the facts and circumstances [should require] your independent judgement better be in compliance with the law,” Morgan says.
Along with being disciplined twice, Payne also has 28 letters of commendation and appreciation.
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