A Provo City school resource officer terminated for stripping down to a green Speedo at a school birthday party has been reinstated and will now be wearing a holster and a gun around his waist instead.
Former Provo High School resource officer Cody Harris took off his pants during a female co-worker’s birthday party at the school on May 2 to show off green Speedo-style underwear and a green hoodie, according to a hearing report from the Provo Civil Service Commission. Harris wore the outfit to play the part of the frog for the "Princess and the Frog" theme party.
Harris walked to the vice principal’s office and dropped his pants to reveal his backside in the Speedo to the vice principal.
Harris returned to the party. When the principal of the high school walked in, Harris dropped his pants again. That’s when the principal ended the party and told Harris to return to his office, the report states. Harris continued to open his office door to reveal himself wearing only the Speedo and a bulletproof vest throughout the day. At least 10 students and several adults saw some portion of Harris’ actions that day, the report states.
Harris was fired May 10 from the Provo police force for his actions.
Harris appealed his termination to the Provo Civil Service Commission, a body that has authority to review and overrule penalties imposed by city departments.
The decision was made after a June 14 hearing after eight hours of testimony.
The three-member commission ruled that Harris be reinstated to his employment with back pay and benefits since the date of his termination.
The commission rejected two of the five violations on which Provo police based Harris’ termination. The commission unanimously found claims of sexual harassment and verbal sexual innuendo could not be substantiated.
The commission said Harris should have been disciplined within the department and not fired.
None of the committee members responded to requests for comments Wednesday night.
Wednesday evening, Provo police spokesman Sgt. Brandon Post wrote in a statement, "the commission ruled that Officer Harris is to be reinstated."
Post went on to state, "while we stand by our initial decision, as a department, we will honor the commission’s ruling."
Provo City police Chief Rick Gregory previously said the incident was investigated under the department’s code of conduct policy with a requirement that officers not be out of regulation uniform.
"I can’t characterize it as a strip tease, but it was not consistent with policy and went beyond the police uniform," he said previously. "I’m very frustrated and disappointed. Unfortunately, this reflects adversely on the department."
Post said Harris will be assigned to the patrol division.
"We will now focus on moving forward and we will make sure that officer Harris has a successful transition back to active duty status," Post said.
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