Roger Schultz

Jackson Police Lt. Roger Schultz addresses a small crowd that gathered to show support for law enforcement Monday at Town Hall. Schultz resigned Friday in the aftermath of a post on the department’s Facebook page that many considered insensitive.

A Jackson Police Department lieutenant is out after community members, advocates for survivors of sexual violence, activists and politicians expressed outrage over a Facebook post he wrote that they call harmful and beyond inappropriate.

In response to the post on the department’s Facebook page, the Community Safety Network said it wants to work to maintain a deeper relationship with law enforcement to improve survivor experiences.

“As advocates, Community Safety Network condemns this post as inexcusable and directly harmful to survivors of violence,” the nonprofit’s board and staff said in a statement released Friday. “Humor is never appropriate surrounding the ongoing reality of sexual assault and gender-based violence.”

Lt. Roger Schultz resigned Friday, about a week after he wrote about how the Jackson Police Department was investigating an alleged sexual assault involving a minor, but might need coffee and sprinkle doughnuts to help them figure out if a crime was committed.

The post was described as disgusting, flippant and disrespectful by some community members.

After the post made rounds on the internet, Sgt. Michelle Weber, who is serving as interim police chief after Todd Smith’s retirement this week, said Schultz apologized to the victim in the case.

“To not have contacted her would have been unacceptable,” Weber said.

Schultz also put out an apology on the department’s Facebook page, which was later deleted when some called it tone deaf. In it he called the joke self-deprecating and a mistake.

Jackson Town Manager Larry Pardee put out a response Thursday promising better training for not just the police department but the entire town staff.

“We are starting to see how systemic these issues are,” Pardee said, “and even before this incident the town was in discussion with the Jackson Hole Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collective about leading dialogues and trainings.”

Pardee said he will make good on the promise to work with the group to better understand bias and privilege and the “cultural constructs that perpetuate them.”

In its statement, the Community Safety Network encouraged law enforcement to issue a genuine apology. It also suggested the Jackson Police Department improve its daily Facebook police blotter entries by including reports of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking statistically rather than narratively.

It also said it expects “law enforcement will take the initiative to undergo extensive training in survivor-centered practices and trauma responses.”

Grassroots group Act Now JH, which has been calling for defunding the department since June, said Schultz’s post highlights a culture of misogyny within the Jackson Police Department.

In a press release sent Friday, Town Council candidate Jessica Sell Chambers applauded Schultz’s resignation.

“JPD and the town of Jackson clearly conveyed that how we talk about sexual assault matters,” she said. “Not talking about it also matters. Mayor Pete Muldoon’s voice aside, the silence of our local male electeds and candidates for office on the matter speaks volumes.”

Mayor Muldoon said Schultz’s Facebook post should make everyone question the culture of policing.

“Traumatized victims of sexual assault and domestic violence need absolute assurance that a call for assistance is responded to by professionals who will treat their situation seriously and who have the background and the empathy to understand how to help them,” he said. “The Facebook post, which trivialized and made light of the alleged rape of a child, should make anyone very concerned that the culture of our police department is not compatible with providing that kind of assistance.”

Muldoon also said he doesn’t think training is the solution.

“It’s clear that we need to take a very hard look at a system of policing that has been in place for many decades and ask ourselves if it still meets the expectations of our residents in 2020.”

The Community Safety Network urges survivors of sexual violence to reach out for help at 733-7233 if this series of events has triggered painful memories.

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

(3) comments

Tim Rieser

He SHOULD NOT have been forced to resign. That is utter nonsense. It was a stupid joke and nothing worse. It didn’t hurt anyone or take these kinds of cases lightly. It was merely levity. Muldoon is practically hysterical about it. Take a deep breath Pete and relax. There is no way he should lose his 20+ year career over something as silly as that.

I am deeply disappointed that the elected officials would destroy someone’s career over this just because some feelings were hurt. This is a whiney valley. Buck-up snowflakes. Of all people who should be sensitive about people doing stupid s**t and getting second chances, Muldoon should have been on the side of backing a good and dedicated worker. Like you haven’t said some off color thing, Pete.

Henry Fowler

This is an important story that the newspaper should report more fully, because the reported facts so far reported did not justify the outcome....is there more to it? That's it? Indeed he did make a very very lame throwaway comment, a foolish thing that merited apology, clarification, reprimand, atonement, perhaps brief suspension. But to be cancelled and run off because of this is way far more creepy than the dumb insensitive comment, at least in the context of the publicly reported facts.

Steven Kardas

Well those who were enraged by the officers comment have gotten their pound of flesh and he has resigned. It's probably still not good enough for them, maybe he should be prosecuted and jailed too?  I personally believe that  Lt. Roger Schultz fully understands that it is against the law for an adult to have sexual relations with a minor and that he believes it is also morally wrong. He made a cynical comment about how easy it was going to be determining that a crime was committed. That's all and his resignation is a loss to the community.

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