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.