Stuber investigation concluded; Mayor calls for an end to the issue

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, June 25, 2020

The investigation into whether Red Lodge Police Officer Al Stuber broke any ethical rules with his recent Facebook post has been concluded with Mayor Bill Larson urging the public to move on from this as the City faces ”more pressing issues.”
The controversial meme posted by Officer Stuber on his Facebook page called for Democrats to be arrested if they try a Presidential overthrow.
“Americans should DEMAND we start arresting Democrats who conspired to overthrow the president of the United States,” the post said.
The post and Stuber’s Facebook page was immediately deactivated.
The ruling on the investigation will not be available to the public because under Montana law “a complaint against an employee is not public knowledge,” said Mayor Larson.
Acknowledging that this may not be the answer the public wants to hear he added “The City will not violate the legal rights of an employee to satisfy the demands of the general public.  We will not violate Montana law.  We cannot without creating liability against us.”
“There will be no more talk about this as it is over,” he said.
“The City of Red Lodge has more pressing issues facing us.  These issues demand us to move forward,” said Larson.  “We have dealt with COVID-19 for months.  Resort tax revenue will take a hit for our community due to the rodeo and parade being canceled.  Let’s move forward and work on rebuilding our community.”
Mayor Larson reiterated that although some members of the community “have continually expressed their fears and concerns over a post by a Red Lodge police officer that was made on his personal Facebook.  The post was not made while on duty or made as a representation of the City or the RLPD.”
He stressed that people being targeted by the RLPD “is not going to happen.”
“So, the fear of being targeted because of political beliefs is unfounded.  Please understand that the Red Lodge Police Department and its officers are professionals who do not pick and choose a vehicle to stop based upon a bumper sticker, flag, etc,” he said.  “They make stops based upon the individual’s violation of the law.  In Montana, that is called particularized suspicion.   An example of particularized suspicion would be speeding, running a stop sign, weaving all over the road (possible DUI), expired registration or a known driver that has a suspended driver’s license.”
“If anyone feels that any officer has targeted them because of a political matter, I ask you to provide me and the Chief with documentation of that,” said Mayor Larson.  “The City will review the bodycam and dashcam of that particular stop to see if anyone’s rights were violated.  If individual rights have been violated, the matter will be addressed.”
“Our officers are not out hunting down bumper stickers or yard signs to target people.  They have more than enough to do.  So please, put your fears to rest and trust that our professional, trained, and well-staffed department has the safety of Red Lodge and its citizens first and foremost every time they put on that uniform,” said Mayor Larson.
Mayor Larson commended RL Police Chief Jason Wells on the work he has done within the department since being hired.
“Chief Jason Wells has worked hard since being appointed chief to get the officers out and known around the community,” said Mayor Larson.
Chief Wells has implemented several programs, training and community events explained Mayor Larson from Ride Alongs; Coffee with the Cops; subscribing to Lexipol that provides the only unified solution—content, policies, and training—for law enforcement agencies. The Chief also sponsored a contest for a new patch design for their uniforms.