City of Henderson selects new police chief

Henderson's former Police Chief LaTesha Watson. (Courtesy: City of Henderson)

HENDERSON, Nevada (FOX5) - Henderson Police Chief LaTesha Watson was placed on administrative leave after several complaints, investigators said.

Law firm Littler Mendelson was hired to do an independent investigation into Henderson Police Chief LaTesha Watson.

Their findings listed more than a dozen complaints against her.

On March 12, two days before Watson was place on paid administrative leave, the memorandum said Watson refused to listen to Deputy City Manager Bristol Ellington about promotions. Ellington is Watson's supervisor. He told her she has to go through human resources about any recruitment and the city attorney's office has to approve any policy changes. But Watson changed policy on her own and promoted three lieutenants to captain, the report said. Two of the lieutenants did not have more than a year experience. That's a violation of current policy so the promotions didn't go through.

"The main thing I focus on is my character that I illustrate: my integrity and my work ethic, Watson said in a February interview.

Her first year in Henderson was met by criticism of union employees.

The report by Littler Mendelson said Watson had a mole on the union board who told her everything that was said at board meetings. That's another policy violation.

In November, someone within the department came forward saying Watson humiliated her in meeting and claimed Watson had a harassing management style.

The document found there was a serious morale issue between supervisory personnel.

City of Henderson public information officer Kathleen Richards confirmed that Watson's leave was effective as of Thursday.

The City of Henderson sent the following statement:

Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres has been named the acting police chief for the Henderson Police Department and Chief LaTesha Watson is on administrative leave until further notice. City Manager Richard Derrick has the utmost confidence in the department’s leadership and Henderson will continue to be one of America’s safest cities thanks to the many fine officers and civilians that work at the Henderson Police Department.

The Henderson Police Officers' Association also released a statement:

The Henderson Police Officers’ Association (HPOA) represents 378 rank and file police and corrections officers of the City of Henderson. We enjoy a longstanding, collaborative relationship with City Management, the Mayor and Council. We were informed of the news regarding Chief Watson being placed on administrative leave this morning via email. The City does not discuss personnel matters publicly, and our Association has no information to share with regards to Chief Watson. What we want the citizens of our great City to know is that we will continue to provide the world-class police services that they have come to expect and enjoy. These services have earned our City accolades from many sources as one of the safest cities in America, and that will not change.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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