Dirty Dresner – What Did Burton Know?

Everyone in Columbia was recently made aware of the forced resignation of Deputy Police Chief Tom Dresner after his illicit affair with a subordinate officer was brought to light. Of course this is a black eye for the department. After all, these are the people we are supposed to trust. If these people will betray their own families…

Keep Columbia Free, thanks to the good folks over at KOPN, has been given access to an anonymous press release that was recently sent to all of Columbia’s major news outlets. The press release claims that Chief Burton attempted to cover up the affair and violated department protocol. The major news outlets have reported that Dresner told Burton about the affair because his family had discovered the infidelity. Dresner wanted to tell Burton before his wife did. The anonymous press release negates that story.

Rumor has it that the recipient of Dresner’s affection (among other things) is a CPD Public Relations Officer who is married to a CPD officer. If this is true, it’s likely that this press release originated from within the department. What did Burton know and when did he know it? We’d all like to know.

I’ll update this post when I have more information, so stay tuned.

UPDATE: The Missourian just ran a piece covering Chief Burton’s response to the anonymous press release. At least one can assume it is a response to the anonymous press release since he is answering allegations of a cover up, but the Missourian makes no mention of the press release.

For those of you who think that an affair between a deputy department head and a subordinate officer is a “private” issue, think about a few things. The police department is a public organization funded by public money. This situation puts our public funds in jeopardy for many reasons.

If this truly was a 7-year affair, as rumor suggests, it would be interesting to see what impact Tom “Dirty” Dresner had on the career advancement of his subordinate mistress. What about the career advancement, or lack thereof, of the officer/husband of the mistress? Remember, Dresner was the interim chief for a while, and as deputy chief, certainly had a large part to play in department politics and human resources.

What if the mistress claims sexual harrassment and wins or settles a suit against the city? Who will fit that bill?

What if the jilted husband claims that his career was stymied at the hands of the Interim Chief and Deputy Chief because this superior officer was banging his wife?

What if other officers on the force decide that they were passed over in favor of the mistress/officer, claiming that she slept her way to a cushy Public Information Officer position?

What about reprisals from the jilted husband or his friends on the force? The anonymous press release makes one wonder who knew what among our police officers and their leaders. Obviously someone has doubts about Chief Burton’s leadership decisions.

The problems this has potentially created in our PUBLIC police department are endless.


7 thoughts on “Dirty Dresner – What Did Burton Know?

    1. mark

      Burton is pushing to limit the CPRB. Other than Susan Smith, I don’t know if there is board member who will support this.

  1. Jason

    I guess when you go looking for bogeymen, you are inclined to find bogeymen. The “press release” accused Burton of trying to cover up Dresner’s alleged violation of policy. How exactly is it a cover up to force Dresner to resign?

    What Dresner did wasn’t illegal. However, it did show bad judgment and for that bad judgment he was forced to resign. The public does not need to know all the salacious details of the affair, only that Dresner resigned. How is the public better served by knowing that Dresner was forced to resign because he had an affair with a subordinate rather than for something a little less titillating like coming into work 15 minutes late every day?

    As long as he did nothing illegal, the reason why Dresner was forced to resign should remain a private personnel matter.

  2. Cat

    After a conversation with an officer last night, apparently Tom and the lady in question was able to keep the affair low profile. He said a few officers thought there may of been some thing going on, but no proof to back it up. There will be no punishment againt the woman as she did not break any rules within the department as far as the affair. However, both parties still have to answer to their spouses and family. I think that will be a harsher punishment than what CPD can hand out.

  3. Rick Gurley


    You posted: “I guess when you go looking for bogeymen, you are inclined to find bogeymen.”

    You then ask: “How exactly is it a cover up to force Dresner to resign?:

    Well, it is all about timing… Do you think that we would even be hearing about this if Mr. Dresner’s wife had not found out about the affair and at the very least threatened to call Chief Burton; if she didn’t actually call him? Do you think that any of this would be known to us if Mr. Dresner would have been able to continue to keep this affair “low profile”? Those are the first two questions you should be asking.

    Second, as close as Chief Burton worked with Mr. Dresner, do you think that he did not at least have a hint of what was going on? I mean think about that question for a minute. Chief Burton is not just an ordinary citizen. He is a Police Officer who has been a detective; trained to carefully observe and make conclusions. He is an executive manager of the CPD, part of his job is to know what is going on in his department. At the very least he is responsible for discouraging this type of behavior. Do you even understand how this incident damages the public’s trust in the CPD? We are paying for a Police Department, not a City Employee’s Dating Service. Now, I expect that these things will happen in Law Enforcement, but I find it a little disturbing that this affair has been going on ever since Chief Burton has been at the CPD. Right under his nose and he did not at least have a hint? Really? What does that say about his detective skills and his management skills?

    I’d like to know first; IF Mr. Dresner’s wife did in fact call Chief Burton to inform him about this affair? Second; IF Mr. Dresner’s wife did call Chief Burton about the affair, when that call took place?

    And Jason; do you honestly believe that an adult female, who was a willing participant in this affair, who continued this affair with Mr. Dresner knowing he was one of her Commanding Officers and knowing he was married, has no responsibility whatsoever for this “black eye” on the CPD?

    I know who Mr. Dresner was having an affair with. It is not hard to know if anyone bothered to just pay attention at City Council Meetings and CPRB Meetings that they both attended. But then, I make a living off of making these observations and have for over 15 years, and I am rarely wrong. But.. Sometimes I am wrong…

    But this is not an isolated incident, there are other Officers at the CPD doing the exact same thing… I know this to be a fact. Got the pictures….

    All and all, this is the type of incident that destroys the public’s trust in its Law Enforcement Agencies. Often times it is not because of the actual affair, but because of how it is handled. But it does not help any when the public finds out that the affair was completely unethical and immoral because at least one of the parties in the affair is married…

    Chief Burton should have just simply made both parties resign. I see no need in firing them, in my opinion that is just too harsh. But, both parties were at fault here. And Chief Burton should have made them resign and then went public with limited details so his community would know that he has zero tolerance for this type of behavior in his department.

    Rick Gurley.

  4. Pingback: “We’re here for your pot and all the cash that you’ve got” « Americans for Forfeiture Reform

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