BURTON- The Burton Command Officers Union is breaking their silence on growing concerns relating to the Chief of Police Brian Ross and City Mayor Duane Haskins.
There have been multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Burton Police Chief, Brian Ross.
A comment to a female officer, from Chief Ross, was overhead by Burton Police Lieutenant, Kevin Jones. LT Jones reported that comment on May 2nd, by email, to multiple people including the City Mayor, Duane Haskins, who has stood by his friends’ side after appointing him as his Chief of Police In November of 2019.
Also included in the email was Charles Abbey, who is the current HR Director that was formerly prosecuted for charges of extortion and bribery relating to business involving the City of Burton.
After reporting the incident, LT Jones was stripped of his weapon and badge and suspended without reason, from a City he has spent his entire career honorably protecting and serving.
The full letter sent to the council from the Union reads:
Dear Members of the Burton City Council:
On behalf of the Burton Command Officers Group (BCOG) with the Police Officers Labor Council (POLC) and its members that proudly serve the citizens of this community, we respectfully request that you accept this letter as our formal notification that the BCOG membership has unanimously approved a Vote of No Confidence in Burton Police Chief Brian Ross.
Over the last several years, we have been disappointed by Chief Ross’ actions and his management of our police department. Chief Ross has broken our trust and confidence. Under his leadership, the morale of the officers within our department has plummeted to depths that we have not seen before.
During his tenure we have witnessed numerous instances of questionable decision making. Chief Ross ordered changes and reductions to the field training program for new officers. This created tension and distrust between our officers and Chief Ross. Chief Ross’ decisions decreased safety and increased liability.
In a conversation with neighboring agency leadership, Chief Ross made a joke about how he does not care if he reduces staffing levels to only one officer working the streets to respond to calls for service. This is concerning if this is how he views the value of the officers in this department and the safety our citizens.
In more recent times, allegations of misconduct by Chief Ross have come from several sources inside of the police department. A formal complaint was filed by an employee about a sexually inappropriate statement made by Chief Ross in front of a female subordinate and male command officer.
That formal complaint was forwarded to Mayor Haskins, Police Chief Ross, HR Director Charles Abbey, Labor Attorney Josh Leadford and City Attorney Amanda Doyle. This complaint triggered an investigation into those allegations. During the investigation into Chief Ross’ conduct, several officers who witnessed conduct, that they felt was worth reporting, came forward. They were met with resistance or even countered with accusations of their own truthfulness. Some witnesses, identified in the investigation, were neglectfully never called in to provide information as to what they witnessed.
On one occasion, an officer responded to an email Chief Ross sent out. Chief Ross ordered a command officer to conduct an internal investigation into why that officer sent that email. Later, Chief Ross removes that command officer from the investigation and says he will be taking care of the investigation into that officer’s email.
When questioned as to why Chief Ross was taking over the investigation, Chief Ross states it is due to information that officer may have that could pertain to the investigation that Mr. Leadford was conducting. This would be the same investigation being conducted into Chief Ross’ conduct. This would undoubtably create massive distrust in the chief and anyone conducting or overseeing this investigation.
The examples listed above represent a fraction of issues that the BCOG has with Chief Ross’ leadership. This behavior has destroyed trust and confidence in Chief Ross’ commitment to this police department, commitment to the citizens of Burton, and his commitment to the law enforcement profession.
The employees of the Burton Police Department are a very proud group of law enforcement professionals who have committed themselves to serving this city.
They are not a group of disgruntled employees. They are frustrated and want more from their leadership. They want to work in a fair and honest police department.
Sadly, and on many occasions, our officers are subjected to comments about how the Burton Police Department is a laughing stock due to the rumors and controversy surrounding Chief Ross’ leadership.
These comments are coming from the lowest ranks to the chief executives of police agencies in our surrounding communities and beyond.
The BCOG and its members are willing to provide additional details should City Council express interest in learning more about our concerns, and we encourage you to contact our POLC Business Agent, Jim Stachowski at 248-524-3200, and he will help facilitate those interactions.
The Burton Command Officers Group”
The City Council was sent the letter and will be handling the concerns from this point on.