Internal letter to HR explains issues between Monument police chief and fmr. town manager

Posted at 6:14 PM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 15:13:38-04

News 5 Investigates has obtained an 8-page letter Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk sent to Human Resources and the Board of Trustees concerning former Town Manager Chris Lowe.

Lowe is accused of showing up intoxicated to a police work function, creating a hostile work environment, inappropriate conduct and holding a vendetta against law enforcement officers.

“Mr. Lowe’s behavior has reached such an abusive and hostile level that it is no longer tolerable,” Shirk stated in his letter.

Issues with Lowe reportedly began years prior to February 2018 when the letter was presented to the Board of Trustees and HR.

“During the 2015 law enforcement Ball, Mr. Lowe joined us at a table for Monument Police Officers,” Shirk wrote. “During the evening, at least 4 Monument officers noted that it appeared as if Mr. Lowe was intoxicated.”

Shirk claims he later informed Lowe about this “observation”. According to Shirk, Lowe responded by saying ‘f*ck the police’.

On another occasion, Shirk said that Lowe’s breathe had a strong odor of mouthwash.

“Pam (Acting town manager) stated that it was Listerine and something to the effect of it is sometimes used to cover the odor of alcohol,” Shirk wrote.

Shirk also claims that Lowe has made inappropriate statements on several occasions.

“Mr. Lowe made statements to me that he does not believe women should be in management positions,” Shirk wrote.

Other incidents:

On December 18, 2017, the Town of Monument held its Christmas party. During this party, awards were handed out to employees.

“The police were not included,” Shirk said.

A few days prior, Shirk said an officer inquired about a $100 Christmas “appreciation” check the rest of the town had received.

“I asked further questions to which she (Pam Smith) stated that everyone except sworn officers received the Christmas appreciation check,” Shirk said. “She (Pam) stated that Chris (Lowe) was not originally even going to give the police civilian staff the $100.”

In the 8-page filing, it appears Lowe thought police officers were making too much money in the Town of Monument. However, News 5 Investigates learned officers voiced concerns over not getting their “pay for performance” incentives on time.

Lowe is also accused of making questionable remarks about employees.

Shirk stated, “During a staff meeting, Mr. Lowe referred to Pam (Smith) as ‘Big Tits McGee’. He has also referred to me as a ‘cotton top’ during staff meetings.”

In June, the Board of Trustees voted to terminate Lowe’s employment after he and Shirk were both placed on leave during the investigation.

As part of the agreement, Lowe was paid $115,000.

Shirk has returned to duty as Chief of Police.

“After an exhaustive investigation, Mr. Lowe was released from service without cause, and paid out his contract, which would mean the accusations in this letter are not founded in fact,” Acting Town Manager Pam Smith said.

We reached out to Lowe for comment, but have not heard back.

The town’s attorney, Alicia Corley, declined to comment on the letter News 5 Investigates obtained.

“I would refer you back to the motions made and voted on by the Town Board previously involving Mr. Lowe,” Corley said via email.