A former high-level manager in the Denver Police Department’s crime lab quit rather than accept a demotion and a large pay cut following allegations he violated numerous city rules – including allegations that he repeatedly altered crime scene reports.
Walter J. Greene Jr., who was paid $124,891 annually as deputy director of the crime lab, resigned Feb. 3 after spending more than seven months on investigative leave, according documents provided to 9NEWS by the Denver Department of Safety on Tuesday.
Before he resigned, Greene was told he would be demoted to a job as a photo enforcement agent at a salary of $57,940, for what was deemed “misconduct” that violated more than a dozen city rules – including bringing a gun to work, ordering employees to drive his wife home in city vehicles during storms, and making disparaging remarks about women and members of the military.
The investigation included interviews with numerous employees who worked with Greene.
“Nearly all the employees interviewed described the workplace as hostile, toxic, abusive, and, at a minimum, uncomfortable,” David Quinones, Deputy Chief of Operations for the Denver Police Department, wrote in a Jan. 18 letter to Greene informing him of the decision to demote him.
Greene, a former Denver police sergeant, could not be reached for comment.
His attorney, Whitney C. Traylor, released a statement to 9NEWS:
Our client, Walter Greene, is supremely disappointed in the unfortunate way he has been treated by the City and County of Denver and the negative media reports based on information provided exclusively by the City. Mr. Greene served Denver and its citizens honorably for over 25 years, both as a police officer and a civilian employee. During that time, he never once received any discipline. Notwithstanding his exemplary service, our client has recently received unfair and misleading publicity based on inaccurate allegations made against him by the City. The City’s investigation of the allegations was grossly mishandled, resulting in Mr. Greene remaining on paid administrative leave for over seven months, despite the City’s own policies requiring the investigation be completed in 45 days. Mr. Greene denies the allegations made against him and provided the City with a 16-page rebuttal addressing each allegation. However, it was obvious that the City intended to remove Mr. Greene from his position, with or without supporting evidence. In light of the incredible delay and skewed publicity, the City stigmatized our client in a way that prevented him from remaining employed and achieving any future success within the City. He was left with no option but to reject the discipline and demotion, regrettably end his successful career, and pursue opportunities in the private sector. Despite the procedural and substantive errors related to the City’s unlawful investigation, this is not the appropriate forum to address this matter, and our client will not comment on the specific allegations related to his separation of employment at this time. He desires justice and looks forward to the opportunity to address these issues in the appropriate forum and at the appropriate time.
Greene was a Denver police officer from 1991 until early 2014, when he retired and took the position in the crime lab.
He had never previously been disciplined, according to city records. But an investigation into his conduct in the crime lab led to the discovery of numerous alleged violations of city rules. They included assertions by seven employees “that you have altered their crime scene reports, sometimes without their knowledge and with terms that they would not use,” Quinones wrote.
“Several employees said that they complained to you about this process, but you insisted on keeping the changes,” Quinones wrote. “One employee refused to make the changes, and you identified her to others as being ‘insubordinate.’ The employees explained that their primary concern was truthful testimony in court.”
On employee went so far as to contact someone at the Denver District Attorney’s Office to raise concerns about the practice, the letter said. Later, Greene allegedly called the employee and stated, “The walls have ears. I know what you did. I know who you’re talking to. … I’m not going to fire you for this. I’m probably not going to write you up … but I want you to know that you are being watched.”
In response to that allegation, the Denver Police Department issued the following statement to 9NEWS: “The allegations of misconduct against Mr. Walter J. Greene that led to his involuntary demotion and subsequent separation for job abandonment were thoroughly investigated by the Denver Police Department. One of the allegations was that Mr. Greene changed case reports without notifying crime scene investigators of those changes. That allegation was investigated and one case report was found to have been changed without proper notification. The change on that report was not material and did not impact the case.”
The letter also noted that multiple employees said that Greene complained about women. Specifically, he allegedly said, “We’re not hiring any more women, they bicker too much,” they are “too much drama,” and they are “emotional” or “petty.”
He also allegedly said he would not hire anyone with military obligations because it created a hardship for the department.
According to the letter, investigators also found numerous instances in which Greene engaged in “threatening, retaliatory, and otherwise unethical conduct.” Among the instances cited in Quinones’ letter:
- Directing a crime lab employee to help an applicant for a job there prepare for his interview.
- Revealing confidential information about some employees to their colleagues, including an assertion that one worker used marijuana.
- Telling employees that he suspected a colleague of having an affair.
- Dispatching an employee to a colleague’s home at 9:30 one night to see if she really had a knee injury, as she’d reported when calling in sick earlier that day.
- Ordering employees on multiple occasions to pick him up at an Arvada car dealership and drive him home.
- Notifying employees in the middle of Super Bowl 50 – won by the Denver Broncos – that they needed to be available if there was trouble after the game – even “if they have had a drink or two.”
He also was accused of other breaches of city rules, including telling employees they would be written up if they didn’t answer their phone on days off and violating overtime regulations.
According to Quinones’ letter, Greene acknowledged many of the allegations and in other cases chalked them up to confusion or misunderstanding.
“Overall,” Quinones wrote, “you acknowledge making mistakes in your role as deputy director of the crime lab. Your performance consistently fails to meet the standard of a deputy director in the City of Denver.”
Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: email@example.com or 303-871-1862.