Westminster police Chief Tim Carlson, who had been on paid administrative leave since July while a review of workplace climate was conducted, retired this week after an independent report determined he “did not effectively manage the department’s culture.”
Acting Chief Norm Haubert will continue to serve as interim police chief while the city begins a search for Carlson’s replacement, Westminster officials announced Wednesday.
“While the department has made significant strides in the past few years, the report has highlighted the need and opportunity for the department to make meaningful change to better support our sworn officers and civilian staff,” Westminster City Manager Donald M. Tripp said in a news release.
“A respectful and inclusive workplace is central to the city’s values. What’s come through clearly in this report is that our officers and civilian staff need to have an important role in the selection of the city’s next police chief. Our staff has the best sense of the leadership they need to serve our community. We will ensure they have a strong voice in who will be their new chief.”
Carlson, who became Westminster’s police chief in 2016 and had served in the department for 35 years, was put on paid leave on July 12 ahead of the city’s review of the police department’s workplace culture.
The report — conducted by third-party security firm U.S. ISS Agency, made up of former local, state and federal law enforcement officers and executives — was given to the city last week, the news release said. The investigation included hundreds of hours of interviews with more than 50 current and former members of the Westminster Police Department along with a review of emails, notes and records to corroborate witness statements, the news release said.
The investigators’ report determined Carlson did not properly manage the department’s culture, noting instances where a senior officer “routinely demeaned and was disrespectful to employees in the use of profanity, rude, and offensive language, disparaging comments, and personal insults,” according to the news release.
The report identified opportunities for the department to “strengthen its culture in alignment with the city’s values and workplace policies,” the news release said.
Andy Le, a spokesman for the city of Westminster, declined to release a copy of the report to The Denver Post on Thursday, saying the document remained in “a deliberative process” with lawyers and that the issue was a personnel matter.
The news release said the city will continue to engage with the police department staff to help strengthen its culture and that staff will have a voice in the process moving forward.
“We are not going to shy away from the findings of this report,” Interim Chief Norm Haubert said in the news release. “Where there were issues, we are going to address them head-on. Where there are opportunities to grow, we are going to embrace it. I’m committed to making sure our department grows from this, and we can move forward as a united workforce.”
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