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Henderson mayor supports police after RJ reveals probe into DUI cover-up

Updated February 21, 2024 - 7:14 pm

Henderson’s elected officials expressed support Tuesday for police Chief Hollie Chadwick despite a series of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigations that exposed failures in disciplining officers.

Last week, a Review-Journal investigation revealed that Chadwick reversed recommendations to fire officers who were found to have conspired to cover up a suspected DUI car wreck involving their off-duty co-worker, according to police investigative records.

During a City Council meeting Tuesday, Mayor Michelle Romero read a public statement backing the department and Chadwick, who was appointed police chief in May.

“I want to commend Chief Chadwick for the work that she’s done over the past year to resolve the outstanding issues and make some significant changes in the department,” Romero said. “I know that she deeply cares for the members and their reputation, and I fully support her and the members of our police department.”

City Councilwoman Carrie Cox said she was disappointed in the recent media coverage and thanked the chief for her work.

“She’s really taken it on the chin for things that she had no say in,” Cox said.

Release of records criticized

Henderson police internal affairs records released to the Review-Journal show that the police administration, under Chief Thedrick Andres, recommended that Sgt. John Bellow, officer Marissa Myers and officer Katherine Cochran, who was suspected of driving intoxicated, be fired for lying and falsifying a police report.

Instead, Chadwick, who previously served as Cochran’s captain in the problem-solving unit, issued minor discipline in the case, records show.

At the City Council meeting, Henderson Police Officers Association President Shawn Thibeault criticized the city attorney’s office for providing the records to the Review-Journal, which he called “inaccurate.” He said they should be vetted in the future.

Charles Hedrick, president of the supervisors union, thanked the council for its support and said the Review-Journal’s reporting of what happened resulted in “sensationalized articles.”

The newspaper’s coverage included official city records and body camera footage.

The revelation of reduced discipline in the DUI cover-up comes after the Review-Journal investigation exposed that Chadwick cleared another officer, Kevin LaPeer, who was accused of racism and untruthfulness.

Chadwick, who fled from a reporter who wanted to ask her about LaPeer, and other city officials have declined to be interviewed about the DUI cover-up investigation.

Instead, Chadwick provided a statement that said she was addressing incomplete cases from the prior administration. She said several internal investigations at the department contained “multiple discrepancies that deviated from best practices” but did not provide specifics.

At the meeting, City Manager Richard Derrick expressed his gratitude to the chief.

“Keep building on the positive momentum — and know that your exceptional work is appreciated,” he said.

Tuesday’s actions mirror Henderson officials’ reaction after a 2021 Review-Journal investigation that exposed failures by police administrators — before Chadwick was promoted to chief — to discipline officers with repeated sustained complaints and other serious misconduct.

Former Henderson Mayor Debra March also read a statement at a City Council meeting after the Review-Journal report was published.

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on X. Erickson is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing.

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