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A Salt Lake City police officer has been placed on paid leave after refusing to work at a gay pride parade, reports the Associated Press.
The officer’s name was not released, but department spokeswoman Lara Jones said there will be an internal affairs investigation into the matter.
“We don’t tolerate bias and bigotry in the department, and assignments are assignments,” Jones told the press. “To allow personal opinion to enter into whether an officer will take a post is not something that can be tolerated in a police department.”
Jones hastened to emphasize that the officer in question is not representative of the overall department’s views on people in the LGBTQ community.
“We have gay men and women that serve in the police department,” Jones said to the Salt Lake Tribune. “One officer’s situation does not reflect the vast majority of officers that work in the Salt Lake City Police Department and certainly not Chief [Chris] Burbank’s.”
While the ultimate outcome of the inquiry is yet to be determined, Utah Pride Center spokeswoman Deann Armes praised the decision to put the officer on leave and launch an investigation. ”Our goal is to make sure that police training and certification includes policies and oaths to ensure that all officers are committed to providing equal service and treatment of all citizens,” Armes said.
“Clearly,” she added, “bigotry is alive and well.”
Police Chief Burbank has marched in the pride parade before, but will be out of town for this year’s event. Three deputy chiefs from the department will march in his stead.