Tape-recorded phone conversation made public
(Editor's note: The following is the transcript of the recorded phone conversation between Mayor Ken Hayes and Cpl. Bill Dempsey on Jan. 5. The Signal has listened to the tape and varified its authenticity.)
Dempsey: Bill Dempsey. Yah, aw, yah. I called dispatch because Eric was out at the bottom of the hill there at the scene and asked them to have him come up to the top of the hill and deal with traffic up there, uh and I talked to Bill Winegar, and I guess the county, and they usually do that, in cases where there is an accident, handles that part of the road so they'll uh! I'll touch base with Eric and make sure they , they ask to get that hill sanded. They usually do when it gets slick like that and then when there's an accident then they're on top of that so, but I'll double check with them.
Hayes: I didn't see Eric there, uh, I just wanted to make sure and see that we, at least we positioned ourselves at the top of the hill and warn people coming down.
Dempsey: Yeah. That's what we usually do on those accidents. I think apparently, probably between the time that you were there and called, he probably went out there.
Hayes: That's OK. That's cool.
Hayes: I wanted to make sure that everything was covered and uh, obviously, someone needed to be at the top to warn people about that hillside cause I slid all the way up it.
Hayes: And you know my truck is geared for that. But you got somebody coming down on the down slope, they can lose control and go over that guard rail. You know what I mean?
Dempsey: Yah, I don't think we've gone a winter yet without an accident or two there in the winter.
Dempsey: Cough in background
Hayes: Inaudible. How you doing man?
Dempsey: Ah, I'm doing OK, ah, considering.
Hayes: Well, it's been a while since we talked. I hope ah, I hope you didn't get too freaked out when you saw Wagner and I.
Hayes: And, uh, and our little combo.
Dempsey: No, I figured you guys have those all the time. I mean, you have a lot in common to talk about.
Hayes: We do.
Dempsey: With the city business.
Hayes: Ah, I want you to understand something and we didn't have the opportunity to talk about it at that point. The decision as far as who got handed what, was not mine and not mine alone.
Hayes: It was a council one.
Dempsey: Uh, huh.
Hayes: I'm sure you guys feel like I've betrayed you and that I , you know, that I've not acted in your best interest. Ah, that's not the case, (pause) the ah, end all of what occurred as far as who got disciplined, who didn't, was a "political decision".
Dempsey: Uh, yah, I figured as much.
Hayes: Well, I wasn't sure you figured as much or if you, you guys had a clue as to what was going on, because I'm sure it's pretty hard to read our minds.
Dempsey: Yah! That's true.
Hayes: OK. My goal has not differed, and I'm sure Wagner (inaudible). We need a change in leadership, and that is my end, end goal.
Dempsey: It's been a rough ride. Let me say that.
Hayes: I understand that, uh, I will tell you, and this is what I wanted to convey to you. The only reason you ended up on the list for the one-day suspension, ah, was the going outside of the chain of command and that was not to you or I, ah, or Wagner. I want to warn you, ah, if this has not been conveyed to you at this point, ah, or at least earlier, Marilyn Pearse is not an ally of yours.
Dempsey: Yah, I know. I knew it then. But I was, I always thought she had a cool head, and ah, as soon as you and I originally talked, and I was already aware of this, I fell under the umbrella of the Whistle Blowers Act, so talking to her was not a violation of anything for me. Suspending me for talking to her is a violation of my rights.
Hayes: Yah, I totally agree with you.
Dempsey: Ah, so you know I'm dealing with that, but yah, I , I was , I, I , I could tell, and I knew immediately, that yah, she, her, her cool head didn't prevail on that and she was ah, I knew, that what she was doing and ah, ah it's one of them things like a bullet. Once it's out of the gun, you can't take it back. (short laugh)
Hayes: Well, right. Once you're there, it's happening, there's nothing you can do about it. Ah, I hope I, you know, did Hensley talk to you yet?
Dempsey: Well, just a little bit. I mean, he's been sick the last couple of days, but he's kinda talked to me a little bit.
Hayes: OK. Ah, hang on just a second. I'm gonna lay down the phone here.
Hayes: First and foremost, as far as communications go, this has to do with this wreck and I was calling because I wanted to make sure that we had troops on scene and that we were making the appropriate calls.
Hayes: So, as far as communicating anything from the top, the, Colleen or the Chief, I'm using that term loosely, ah.
Hayes: Under the auspices of , ah, my point is, as I was trying to get across to Hensley, I wanted to suspend Steve for five days and give everybody else a written, but as long as behavior was fine for the next 12 months, those would be removed from the file.
Hayes: That's what I started out with.
Dempsey: Uh, huh.
Hayes: In other words, these things go away. When I brought it to the council, we talked about it. It was very evident from three other council members that if I was gonna suspend Steve that I had to suspend all of you.
Hayes: And I'm letting you know this before we go into the meeting. I was trying to figure out a way that I could convey this to you before.
Dempsey: Oh, OK.
Hayes: This kind of turned out to be a good, good way to do it. Ah, I'm not happy about it. I didn't like doing it, but I had to do it. Ah, the only way I could get my point across to Butell.
Hayes: As far as your guys, what you got going on your side, if you want to stand together, that's fine. Ah, I, I understand where you're coming from. You have to understand where we're coming from.
Dempsey: Sure, uh, huh. (Laugh)
Hayes: Ah, I don't think it's in your best interest to stand with him.
Dempsey: Well, I didn't think the way you guys set this up ah, this, the disciplinary ah, appeal situation, that it is my understanding at least, I'm, I'm figuring that we're all going in there individually.
Hayes: Uh, huh.
Dempsey: One at a time. The only people that's gonna be in there is the council, Mr. Paine, and you, I mean, I didn't think we all were going to be in the room. I wasn't looking for everybody to be in the room that was involved in the appeals at the same time.
Hayes: Uh, huh.
Dempsey: Ah, you, I'm real interested in the outcome of this, obviously, you know, like I told you several months ago, you know, law suits are ugly, ah, whether you mean for them to be or not. They turn that way. They're kinda like divorces . They're ugly , ah, and.
Hayes: There are no other flavors. They always get ugly.
Dempsey: Right, and I, I gotta look out for my record and that, you know I was, I would've probably took that day and walked, except Mr. Paine assured me it was gonna be a part of my permanent record, and, ah, as far as I was concerned, it pretty well said I didn't have any choice, to do what I hafta, you know, I gotta do what I gotta do.
Dempsey: And, and, obviously, you know, I've researched it and ah, ah, and talked to more than one legal council on it. So I, you know, I'm, I'm all, as far as I'm, my deal is, I have to go through this appeal process, ah, for the legality of everything that I'm, I'm preparing for but, ah, I, I, yah, I common sense always tells me that the way things were, that's the way they were, were, which you just explained, so ah, I, I, think everybody aware of that, as far as the four officer go, ah, I know this is wearing on everybody and we're just trying to get along down there at the station and things really have gotten pretty decent. Ah, for one reason or another, but they, working conditions have really improved substantially and ah, I was kinda figuring this deal was over and we were all healing and then this disciplinary thing hit us and it, it rattled all out teeth pretty good.
Hayes: Well, I'm not gonna rest until I have a different Chief of Police. That's pretty much where I'm coming from and ah.
Dempsey: Well, his case is different than ours. All of our cases are different, for the most part, but you know, I'd, we, didn't lie to the council. We didn't lie to anybody.
Hayes: Oh, I know that. I know that.
Hayes: My point is, is that the reoccurring theme throughout the Bennett report, which I called for it, through every format that I could get my hands on for its release and I have two council members that want it released and I want to force that to a public vote so our vested Chief wants to hide it and who doesn't.
Dempsey: Uh, huh.
Hayes: And I've got my own game in play there and to use the game term you know I'm using the term game loosely, I mean, people have to understand.
Hayes: And I think that the taxpayers have a right to understand what's (inaudible), what the Hell this is all about.
Hayes: And, my point is, is that we need a new chief. We need new leadership. You don't want to be it. I've never wanted to put you in that position. And Larson, well, she doesn't have the skills to do it. I want to bring somebody in from the outside to lead this group. And Butell's not it. And the lack, if you look at the Bennett report, in its entirety, OK, you look at the summation and everything else, the one fundamental term that always comes out lack of administrative control.
Hayes: If you read through it, that's very critical.
Hayes: And to me that's all it takes. Uh, they're gone. Uh, I want somebody that's in control. I want somebody that is reactive. Not just reactionary, but out in front. But, he's gonna take these young guys and teach them their jobs and help them out, you know. Uh, making sure the Jaych situation does not occur in the future.
Hayes: And it looks like, and I understand, where you guys are coming from, from my position, it looks like I am just laying fire down on the whole organization but, in order to get the leader out, I gotta bring fire on all of you.
Hayes: I don't know what else I can do at this point.
Hayes: Because, if, and I tried this once, if I single him out, the Chief, for disciplinary action, and I have no support as far as two members and the swing vote, I've got down at the athletic center here in town.
Dempsey: Uh, huh.
Hayes: They won't follow with me.
Hayes: So, the thing has to be brought to a head, and it is finally here. It'll be here on Monday. So what I am encouraging you guys to do is, you know, make your points. When you come in, ask for your disciplinary , you know, as far as being interviewed when we go to the disciplinary process, make your points, say why you don't want to be disciplined, and then move on with it.
Dempsey: Uh, huh.
Hayes: My end game is, is that Steve is not gonna survive the next reappointment. There's no way he will. I will not reappoint him. It will take a majority of the council, which would be four, to override my vote to keep him. And I'm gonna fight it out for all I can, cause I don't want him as our Chief anymore. I will no longer stand for this crap. And, I know, I know you guys never envisioned when you started this deal, it was gonna, to go to this extreme, it's gotten damn ugly.
Dempsey: Laugh, yeah, I think it has gotten a bit out of line. It's growing like a mushroom, instead of shrinking like I thought it should do.
Hayes: Well, I thought he would have thrown in the towel by now. I don't know what the Hell keeps him going, I really don't. I mean does he really think he's gonna outlast me? Or what's his deal?
Dempsey: I don't know. Uh, uh, I do know he's changed a lot, uh. I can't believe the working condition's really good around there now and uh, I personally you know, seeing Jaych go, that was, that was my major concern.
Hayes: That would be, that was what this whole thing started about.
Dempsey: But he just has torn our whole department up in leaving, and uh, I would not ever have pushed this other stuff. But our credibility certainly came into question real quick.
Hayes: Um, huh.
Dempsey: And I couldn't let it lay down. And the fact that Marilyn, instead of acting on that, chose to get me in trouble over it, is not going to bode well in a, another venue.
Dempsey: That's a big screw up.
Hayes: I totally agree.
Dempsey: Uh, but, butta, you know, that's another day there (sigh). But it really ended.
That doesn't surprise me. It didn't initially, because I really thought she was pretty level headed. Butta, and was looking for the truth and honesty for everybody, but that wasn't the case. It turned into a, a popularity contest I think, or something to that effect, when this thing went down.
Hayes: Well, you saw my reaction. I mean, I had my friend, who is an FBI agent. He confirmed the fact that it was a Triple I. We all talked about it, we you know, KHP came back. I made the city, the city administrator minus the city attorney who couldn't be there.
Dempsey: Uh, huh.
Hayes: Retract their statements in the public, we retracted the fact that the, the criminal act, the criminal investigation was not completed and then when it was completed and they were , you know, we were, in violation of the act, we made it public to everyone. I mean, you got your point across as far as I was concerned. And I did everything to make sure that not only known, but, but, published.
Dempsey: Uh, huh.
Hayes: Ah, as far as Marilyn goes, that was her big deal. If I was gonna discipline Steve, then I had to discipline everybody else.
Dempsey: Sure, I can, I know that, I can't remember how it got to me, but I knew it.
Hayes: And Junior (inaudible) and George jumped on.
Dempsey: No surprise there.
Hayes: My biggest surprise was George.
Hayes: Too me.
Dempsey: Oh. Yah, he's, nothing surprises me anymore. (Laugh) ah.
Hayes: Well, I don't know what you guys feel about me, or how you feel about me. I've stayed on course. I've stayed on target. I'm doing what I can, and what I need to do, to get a new chief.
Dempsey: Well, let's put it this way, we don't want to be collateral damage, you know.
Hayes: Um, huh. Oh, I understand. I cut a wide swath and I hurt a lot of people when I move, and I understand what you're saying completely.
Dempsey: Which is what this thing was, I mean, basically what initially happened, everybody, when we went forward with this stuff on Jaych. There was a lot of collateral damage (sigh) and us included, because we were
Hayes: There's no way to avoid it.
Dempsey: In front of the lawn mower, man.