Parting words from Lt. Schultz following resignation

JACKSON, Wyo. — The incident that resulted in the resignation of a Jackson Police Lieutenant has tugged the community in two directions, judging from the public comment on Buckrail’s Facebook.

What does moving forward look like?

Groups like Act Now JH want the salary and other associated costs from Shultz’s role removed for the JPD budget, and reinvested. In response to the news of Schultz’s resignation, they shared that they “do not believe any of these issues to be about specific individuals” and are calling for “concrete and meaningful change” throughout the Town and community.

In his unedited* words below, Schultz responds to the incident and shares his final thoughts:

Dear Jackson,

Some have ridiculed me and judged me as someone I am not. I want you to know who I really am. I am the husband of my wonderful wife of 29 years who I cherish; a father of two children that I love with all my heart, both of whom were raised in Teton Valley; I am a man of faith who worships my Father above and contributes to my congregation; I was a police officer who served the Jackson community for the past 23 years faithfully; I have called this area my home for over 40 years; and I am a human being, flawed, and far from perfect. What I am not is someone who would intentionally bring pain or strife to anyone.

Much has been said about the blotter post for which I was forced to resign. Up until now, I have not had the freedom to speak on the matter. I wish to do so now, though I know there is nothing I can do or say that will change some of your opinions of me for the better.

I started the Facebook police blotter three years ago when I became the lieutenant of the police department. I hoped to provide Jackson residents with a glimpse into their police department. I always felt our local paper was doing the community a disservice by printing only a handful of the most entertaining blotter items and leaving its readers with the impression that was all the crime occurring in Jackson. Even the blotter I was writing couldn’t capture it all, but I tried really hard. I did my best to humanize your police officers so you could see them as the people and the heroes they are. I did my best to educate the public on why and how we do what we do in a manner that was more than just dry facts. I knew that if I ever made a single mistake or misstep, I would come under serious scrutiny and worked to ensure that never happened.

I am not a professional writer. I am an amateur at best with no editing staff to catch my mistakes. Last week, I was attending a training in Casper, but was still expected to fulfill my duties as a lieutenant, the police blotter being one of many. I rushed the process, didn’t check my work close enough, and left something in one of the items that shouldn’t have been there. To be clear, this blotter item was not a crime and anyone alleging otherwise is making a false statement. The mayor has represented this event as a sexual assault or rape of a child. These are false statements. The call was unfounded and was not investigated past the initial response as it was determined that no crime had been committed and no one was a victim. My intent was to educate people on the law regarding what makes consensual juvenile sex a crime, not to make light of the event.

I would never intentionally harm a victim. I have dedicated my life to helping those in need and have investigated many crimes against children, sexual assaults, and domestic violence cases in my career, always with an eye towards justice for the victim. Our police department spends a great deal of time training on these specific issues so that we can best serve the community. In recent years, I have dedicated time to building better relationships with our partners and counterparts at the Community Safety Network, where challenges existed in the past between their staff and ours to enhance our working relationship for the benefit of victims. Our now-retired Chief over the years has always set an expectation that our officers serve victims of any crime with dignity and respect, and that has always been my goal. I realize in retrospect that I could have done better, should have done better, but never did I intend to harm anyone.

Up until Friday morning, I believed I would still be employed with the Town of Jackson. I had already been reprimanded and had it documented in our inter-departmental system for that purpose. Initially, I thought the matter closed, but I was wrong and discussions about my future continued at the highest levels of town government. On Friday morning, Sergeant Michelle Weber informed me I was to resign, or I was going to be terminated at the town administrator’s direction. I was told it must be done immediately. There was no internal affairs investigation, there was no administrative hearing or opportunity for appeal. No process was followed, and I was told that none would be, or that even if it was, I would be terminated. Even people who commit crimes get a fair trial and chance for appeal. With no other choice, I resigned.

I was prepared to serve this community for several more years and do my best to ensure Michelle Weber got her legs under her as the new chief and prepare the department for my eventual retirement. I want you all to know that Michelle is a great cop and has no fault in what happened. I pray for her success as a leader and chief in what has become a very tough political environment.

I want to tell my brother and sister cops, deputies, dispatchers (Thank you, Kimberly for allowing me to call, “End of Watch” one last time.), EMTs, fireman, and administrative staff that I love you and wish you the best. You’re a fine group of men and women and it has been a pleasure to have served with you. To the other town employees who I’ve worked and laughed with, I will miss you. There are many others I could single out for the part they played in my career, but there isn’t room to do so, except for one. I want to publicly thank Todd Smith, our recently retired chief. You trained me as a brand-new cop and taught me so much about doing the job right and about being a good leader. It has been the honor of my life to have served as your lieutenant. You will forever be my friend and my brother.

Thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support. It’s been a privilege to have served this community for the last 23 years. I hope I’ve done some good and helped a few of you. Best wishes.

End of watch.
Lt. Schultz
Retired

 

 

 

*Please note: this letter was sent directly to Buckrail and is unedited.

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