TROY — An internal investigation regarding Sgt. Joe Stutz’s alleged improper conduct was completed Thursday.
The 53-page report stemmed from an anonymous email sent to the media, city council and city officials on Sept. 27, which alleged Sgt. Stutz was “a threat to the citizens of Troy and the rule of law” regarding Sgt. Stutz’s conduct.
According to an interoffice memo from Chief Charles Phelps, Sgt. Stutz was issued a letter of reprimand and ordered to complete additional sexual harassment training.
The investigation found Sgt. Stutz was in violation of the Troy Police Department’s policy conduct unbecoming of an officer for making derogatory comments to the department’s only female officer, Patrolman Laura Hudson. Hudson was interviewed and stated she had never reported the verbal exchanges to administration and claimed their working relationship was “fine.”
According to Chief Phelps’ review of the investigation, “The comments made by Sgt. Stutz to Ptl. Hudson are clearly a violation of policy. Ptl. Hudson was very clear that she had not complained about Sgt. Stutz’s comments and did not intend to, even when provided the opportunity. Even if the exchanges between Stutz and Hudson were made in a consensual or joking way, as appears to be the case here, it made other male officers uncomfortable and still violates policy. Further, the responsibility lies with the supervisor to prevent such situations. The recommended discipline on this issue will center on punishment as well as education with the provision for progressive discipline should any future similar situation occur.”
The internal investigation was led by Capt. Jeff Kunkleman. The report included a dozen interview sessions with several officers. Chief Phelps ordered the internal investigation on Sept. 28, and it ended on Nov. 4.
According to interview notes, Sgt. Stutz admitted to using derogatory terms for Ptl. Hudson, violating the sexual harassment policy. During two interviews, with his attorney Andrew Pratt present, Stutz admitted the terms were inappropriate for the workplace, but he and Ptl. Hudson had a good working relationship.
Sgt. Stutz also was found to have violated “use of authorized less lethal weapons” and contributing to a “hostile work environment” for pointing a Taser gun at an officer during roll call in 2015.
The investigation concluded Sgt. Stutz had been properly disciplined for prior incidents alleged in the email. Some allegations included using a derogatory term to describe another officer’s child in 2013. Sgt. Stutz was verbally reprimanded in 2015 for threatening another sergeant with a Taser in 2012-2013.
He also was reprimanded for threatening and then using a Taser on a patrol officer during an unspecified span of time. He also was verbally reprimanded for accessing the police database one time for a local credit union repossession side job in 2004, which was confirmed during the investigation.
Sgt. Stutz was hired as a police officer on Aug. 12, 1985, and was then promoted to sergeant on March 12, 2001.
The Troy Daily News left a voicemail for Sgt. Stutz. He did not respond as of press time.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews