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UPDATE: Henderson fires police chief LaTesha Watson

Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres named acting police chief
Posted: 11:06 AM, Mar 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-12 06:20:47Z
Henderson Police Chief LaTesha Watson is on administrative leave, authorities say.
Deputy Chief Thedrick Andres
Henderson police car_file.PNG

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — UPDATE APRIL 11: A police union representative and a City of Henderson spokesperson confirm that Henderson Police Chief LaTesha Watson has been fired.

Watson held the position for less than two years and Thursday's announcement comes just weeks after she was first placed on paid leave, before being moved to unpaid leave.

No official reason was given for her leave.

Thedrick Andres will remain the acting police chief.

UPDATE 11 PM:
She was hired as the outsider to reform a department with a history of officer misconduct, arrests and sweeping scandals under the rug but now Police Chief LaTesha Watson is facing troubles of her own after being placed on administrative leave, Thursday.

The official reason for the administrative leave has not been made public, but it comes at the same time Chief Watson, Deputy Chief Thedrick Andres, City of Henderson, City of Henderson Police Department and both police unions are embroiled in a bitter battle.

READ: LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT RELATIONS BOARD COMPLAINT

13 Action News has obtained a copy of a complaint filed on behalf of the Henderson Police Supervisors Association and Henderson Police Officers Association which claims Chief Watson, Deputy Chief Andres, and the City of Henderson violated multiple state laws regarding employees rights to participate in union activities without interference or discrimination.

The complaint was filed on Nov. 16, 2018 but claims the violations began soon after Watson arrived from a police department in Texas.

The documents claim Watson asked for and received lists of both union's boards of directors and members of their Grievance Committees.

Armed with that information, the complaint claims Watson and Andres focused on efforts to diminish the role of the labor associations with the city, decrease the labor associations' ability to bargain collectively, harass and intimidate current and prospective future officers of the labor associations from participation in the labor associations out of fear of retaliation and impact on their professional careers.

The complaint goes on to claim Watson singled out the current President of the Henderson Police Supervisor Association, adding she had a 'mole' in the labor union who was revealing secret information and the president needed to "separate work from union matters and activities."

The documents further claim the President was admonished shortly after and was warned he would receive progressive discipline if his behavior and his duties continued within the union.

The complaint claims the Secretary of the police supervisors association was denied assignments which were intended to prevent her from promotional opportunities within the department, based on conversations with Deputy Chief Andres.

The document claims Watson treated a Lieutenant with "personal and professional disrespect and animus" after learning of a prior off-duty DUI arrest.

Additional claims include Watson distributed material with religious overtones to ranking officers and the department denied a specialized assignment to a transgender officer who holds a position on the Grievance Committee with the Henderson Police Officer Association.

The City of Henderson has asked for more time, requesting an April 15 deadline, to respond to the Local Government Employee Management Relations Board complaint.

Last week, the unions objected to the extension and asked the board to move quickly on the complaint.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Henderson Police Chief LaTesha Watson is on administrative leave until further notice, according to officials.

Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres has been named the acting police chief for the Henderson Police Department.

Authorities say, "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 city has not commented on the circumstances surrounding the administrative leave.

TIMELINE

1994: Started her law enforcement career in 1994 with the Hutchins Police Department in Hutchins, Texas

2002: Joined police department in Arlington, Texas.

2014: Named deputy chief in Arlington, Texas.

May/June 2017: Henderson Police Chief Patrick Moers and Deputy Chief Bobby Long voluntarily leave posts.

June 2017: Search for new Henderson police chief begins.

September 2017: LaTesha Watson hired as Henderson's new police chief.

January 2018: Chief Watson talks to 13 Action News about gender diversity on police force.

February 2018: Chief Watson hires new deputy chief with a "questionable" past, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal . The new deputy chief also worked for police department in Arlington, Texas.

August 2018: Chief Watson talks to 13 Action News about 5 Henderson police officers arrested for driving under the influence.

November 2018: Chief Watson talks to 13 Action News about her first year on the job and her plans.

January 2019: Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that officials paid more than $50K to investigate Chief Watson. The chief was reportedly the subject of 10 internal investigations. Complaints included making employees read religious materials before meetings.

March 3, 2019: Chief Watson placed on administrative leave.