US: Utah police officer ‘on paid leave’ after refusing to work at Pride

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A Salt Lake City police officer has been placed on leave, after he refused to work at the Utah Pride parade.

Spokeswoman Lara Jones said that police officers are not allowed to pick and choose assignments, and are expected to follow orders beyond personal views.

Jones told the Salt Lake Tribune: “If you refuse to do an assignment, that’s going to be a problem inside the police department.

“The vast majority of officers, when they come to work, they understand that they leave their personal opinions at home and serve the community.”

Jones confirmed that the officer involved in the incident, who she declined to name, had been placed on paid leave, while internal affairs officers investigate.

“We have gay men and women that serve in the police department. We have provided public safety services to this event since its inception.

“Personal opinions in the police department have evolved along with the community.

“One officer’s situation does not reflect the vast majority of officers that work in the Salt Lake City Police Department, and certainly not [Police Chief] Burbank’s.

“H.R. issues like this I wouldn’t say are routine but are not unexpected, and we have a process to deal with them and provide due process to those involved.”

According to the newspaper, a union leader has confirmed that the officer is not a member.