Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Officer Ken Hammond: Two Sides to Every Story

One gentle reader expresses her regret that Officer Hammond's side of the story remains untold

By Dorrene Jeske

There is an excellent letter to the editor in this morning’s Standard Examiner by Janet Rabe.

I agree with her that one mistake does not undo the good things that one has done. Ogden PD has lost a fine and courageous police officer. Officer Hammond has been an exemplary officer who was accused of allegedly using excessive force in arresting a couple.

There are always two sides to every story. That is one reason the Council voted to pass the resolution to retain the Civil Service Commission to protect the Ogden City police officers and firefighters who risk their lives every day that they report to duty. I and a friend lobbied legislators during the legislative session to not support the bill that Mayor Godfrey had sponsored by his cousin, Senator Scott Jenkins, that tried to do away with that protection. I do not condone the use of force, but realistically I am sure there are times when it is necessary especially in our drug-using society.

I regret that Officer Hammond was not able to give his side of the story and that consideration of his heroic and dedicated service was not taken into account by the investigating committee.

24 comments:

Just Wondering said...

Why doesn't the Department and Senior Officers support the officers?

George K said...

Just Wondering, I can tell you what I know in answer to your question. Godfrey has had it in for the polie and firefighters because they did not support the gondola and confronted him with his blackmail efforts. Godfrey cannot threaten them with their job most of the time like he does the other Ogden City employees. He hates the firefighters because they supported Jesse for Mayor and as a councilman and Doug Stephens who beat Godfrey's patsy, Steve Larsen, Bill Glasmann who won over another Godfrey "Yes" man, Kent Jorgensen, and Jeske who did a snow job of Donna Burdett, another Godfrey "rubber stamper" who was serving on the council four years ago.

Libby N. said...

Thanks for all the hard work you do for our city, Dorrene!!

Curmudgeon said...

DJ:

While I agree completely with your stand on the Civil Service Commission, and that Hammond's prior conduct [whatever it might have been] does not and should not "wipe out" his courageous actions during the Trolley Square incident, it is equally true that Hammond's bravery at Trolley Square does not and should not "wipe out" prior unacceptable conduct as a police officer.

I don't know if the allegations made against him are true or not. But if they are, they are serious because he is [or was at the time] a policeman. Policemen, because they are authorized to use violence if need be for the public good, and because there is a presumption of honesty on the part of police testimony, should be held to a higher standard of conduct than others, not the same one, and certainly not a lower one.

We're going to have to see how the allegations pan out. I wouldn't jump to judgment, either for or against former Office Hammond, at this point.

Somebody said...

I'm sure the SE gave Hammond his chance to talk. If he wants to tell his side of the story he has ample outlets for which to do so.
Don't forget also that the excessive force thing is one of the items for which the trouble started. I believe there was sexual activity with a minor in there somewhere too. I'm not saying Hammond was or wasn't a good cop or was or wasn't mistreated here, I am just saying that if he wanted to speak I'm sure somebody was listening. Finally, heroic activity does not give you a pass to participate in illegal activity and get away with it, if that did indeed happen.

know the ropes said...

Just wondering, "Why doesn't the Department and Senior Officers support the officers?"

The Police would eat their young; they don’t think of each other as family, they seem to only care about what’s in it for them selves. Whereas the Firefighters live together for 24 hours at a time, they are family. Most firefighters know more about their co-workers than their immediate family. They stick up for each other and take care of their own.

Dorrene Jeske said...

Thanks, Libby. Curm, I agree with you that one good deed should not "wipe out" seriously bad actions. Maybe there is justification in seeking Officer Hammond's termination, but I've met him, and usually I'm a good judge of character and I think that Ogden has lost a fine officer. I think that we just don't get all the true facts regarding the dismiassal of our officers. I feel that old quote of not judging until we've walked in a person's shoes/mocassins applies here.

Wants the Truth said...

OPD does have a history of "getting it in" for one of their oficers and harrassing them until they resign. I think "Knows the Ropes" has it right. The Captains don't appreciate their officera nor takes care of or helps them.

RudiZink said...

your blogmeister is now Chiming in. In re "Ogden's Finest" ergo "Wants the Truth"

And please Weber County Forum readers... More comments, please.

As an aside, and for the benwefit of Of Ogden lumpencititizens, for the most part, after having met with rank and file OPD officers at the "Copper Kettle" numerous times in 2006, I'll have to say I'm impressed by the high quality of Ogden Police officers.

They merely want to get "The bad Guys" off the street," people.

When every one of them raised their hand to "protect and serve," None of them anticipated Boss Godfrey, who really hates the cops.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

I wouldn't question your judgment regarding Ogden police officers. On the happily rare occasions I've met them in the performance of their duties, they've been fast, professional and good at what they do.

But allegations have been filed against one of them. I'm afraid some people tend to look upon allegations against one Ogden police officer as an indictment against them all, and so, in response, they go to the other extreme and instantly defend an officer against whom allegations have been made in the [I think mistaken] belief that in doing so they are standing up for all policemen.

They are not. There have been and are always going to be a handful of bad cops. Defending them as a way of defending police in general makes no more sense than, say, defending a poor teacher as a way to defend all teachers.

Just to be absolutely clear here: I am not saying Hammond was or is a bad cop or is guilty of what he's been accused of doing. I have no idea if the charges are valid or not. But I do think some people tend to defend almost as an instinct any officer charged with a crime, without much asking first if there is sufficient evidence to sustain the charge.

And whether Hammond is in the end exonerated or not, neither outcome will in any way affect your characterization of Ogden police officers in general, which I share.

V said...

Dorrenne I would say your judge of character is off.

Court documents filed Dec. 29 allege Hammond had oral or anal sex with a 16- or 17-year-old girl on July 12, 2005. The unlawful sex charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

One might ask how you would feel about his character if that was your daughter? Or granddaughter in your case.

Or is it the Nixon defense: When an officer does it, it isn't against the law.

Sounds like he will get to tell his side of the story in front of a judge and jury.

And until he does, we don't need to be paying his administrative leave.

Hammond is Innocent said...

It will be interesting to see whether the "state's" little whore juvenile witness even shows up to testify.

She'll have to endure cross-examination from the defense, by the way.

We'll see about the outcome, won't we?

Godspeed to Officer Hammond, a national police hero.

Let the little juvenile slut perjure herself on the witness stand.

Let the chips fall.

Waterboy said...

For those who do not understand it, Hammond is facing 2 separate incidents. The first is the sexual misconduct case from 2005. The second is the use of force case from 2008. I found it interesting that the use of force case was announced about 2 weeks AFTER the sexual misconduct case was announced. My personal opinion is that the "victim" in the use of force case saw that Hammond was facing the other charge and decided to throw in her own personal experience to capitalize in it.

Here is what I have been told about the use of force case. The "victim"'s husband had been in a pursuit by UHP where he had gotten away somewhere in Ogden. He dumped the car and hid from police. OPD Officers assisted to look for the suspect. While he was hiding he called his wife by cell phone to come get him. She arrived to the area too late and officers had already captured him. The wife/"victim" caused a disturbance and earned the priveledge to go to jail (as did her husband). She did not want to go along pleasant like and some force was needed to get her to the police car. So in essence it sounds like she participated in criminal behavior in disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, in addition to possibly interferring with a criminal investigation by trying to pick up her husband who was hiding out as a fugitive.

Now it appears (at least to me and many I have spoken to about it) that she went and got herself an attorney to sue Hammond for use of force. Probably because she (and her criminal husband) have racked up a ton of legal fees. Like I said it seems too damn convenient that her case was announced about 2 weeks after the other case had been announced.

As to the sexual misconduct case against Hammond. Very few fellow officers knew what was happening at all with the investigation. I understand that most officers learned about it like everyone else did, through the media when the story broke. I hear that the administration kept it pretty quiet. Most "fellow officers" only knew that he was under an internal investigation and was on leave for it.

It sounds like Councilwoman Jeske was right about fighting against eliminating the civil service for police and fire. At least they can not be threatened to be fired by Godfrey at will. Glad to know that there is a process.

Ernie the Attorney said...

"So in essence it sounds like she participated in criminal behavior in disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, in addition to possibly interferring with a criminal investigation by trying to pick up her husband who was hiding out as a fugitive."

Exactly right, Waterboy. The civil case will be summarily blown out of court, before you can say "drunken nitwits should be incarcerated for long stretches."

Both the perp and his nitwit wife belong in jail, along with their Salt Lake ambulance-chaser attorney, who deserves an additional state bar complaint for civilly pursuing this ridiculous non-meritorious case.

Wm M said...

What Ernie the Attorney said ...

caddyhack said...

Officer Hammond is innocent until proven guilty.

If the jury finds him guilty, he should be severely punished. Police officers should definitely be held to a higher standard. If the jury finds Officer Hammond not guilty, he should receive an apology and, perhaps, a raise in pay.

Actually, all of our police officers (and fire fighters) deserve a raise in pay. Godfrey and his gang deserve a pay cut.

Brett said...

You are exactly on the mark, Caddyshack. I've said for years that NONE of Godfrey's A Team do anything to earn their outrageious salaries as downtown Ogden proves. They should all receive a cut in pay, especially this year of cut backs! City Council, in the budget cut backs, make the cuts where they SHOULD BE! Which means, no salary for Godfrey, and no more than $60,000. for all the Directors and $45,000. for the Managers! Let's cut the fat!

knows the ropes said...

Rudi, "When every one of them raised their hand to "protect and serve," None of them anticipated Boss Godfrey, who really hates the cops."

I dont think that any one could have predicted what a vengeful, mean little prick Godfrey turned out to be. The little fu#^(er hates anyone who disagrees in the slightest.

Integrity Counts said...

Knows the ropes, I guess that would account for Gdfrey's attacks on Amy Wicks, Jesse Garciaa and Dorrene Jeske because they can think for themselves and Wicks and Jeske tell it as it is. A warning to Mrs. Gochnour, be prepared for his attack of you. The other three men on the Council have a yellow streak down their back or just lack a spine and a brain which thinks.

Waterboy said...

That is true about him hating anyone who disagrees with him. I know of several city employees who have had to PERSONALLY apologize to him because his ego was bruised. The stupid thing about that is that no one remembers what was said to bruise his ego, but everyone remembers that the "offender" had to apologize personally.

All I can say is that if you are a city employee be careful not to question him or his ideas. Especially in a public setting or employee meetings....

Wants Integrity in Mayor said...

I feel so bad for the Ogden City employees when they have to meet with Godfrey in an employee meeting and listen to his b.s. and lies. I don't think I could do it, I would be sick to my stomach.

damn near had him said...

450 votes is what makes me sick, 450 lousey votes.

On the Inside said...

If that is correct! There are too many qustions still, and too many violations of the voting code to say for sure that Godfrey won! IF everyone who went to vote had been allowed to vote, I think the outcome would have been different! Godfrey is so corrupt!

RJ Svengali said...

So, our lawfully elected mayor is corrupt?
Is there a small city with big development plans without a somewhat corrupt mayor?
Rarely, perhaps.

So, an officer had to play rough with some back-talking street trash, obviously the type of crime worshiping citizen who, on a daily basis, get away with misdemeanors and the occasional felony?

Try riding with our fine officers for one evening, responding to domestic violence, pulling over 14 year old recent immigr├ęs flaunting firearms in the auto.

Our problem with Mayor Godfrey is not his graft and corrupt back room deals. He can act like a mayor all he wants.
Our issue with him is his vision, and his seeming incompetence.

Of course, perhaps his seeming lack of competence gets in the way of his frightful vision?
That would be another story.

Our problem with Keith Hammond is not his alleged sexual dalliance with an almost adult female of questionable morals.
That story is as old as written civilization. Poor behavior, certainly, and as common as the erotica that statistics indicate is buried in some temp file on your computer.
That would seem to be a matter for divorce court/swingers society.
Until the verdict is read, he innocent of the charges alleged against his person.

But, lapses in judgment? Seemingly, guilty as charged.
And really, who can point at themselves, and claim differently?
Not us.

We love this town.

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