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Henderson Police Department forced to backtrack on promotions

Updated January 26, 2019 - 8:27 pm

Three Henderson police lieutenants had their promotion offers rescinded this month after city officials called for time to review changes to department policy.

In an email to Henderson Police Department employees on Jan. 8, Chief LaTesha Watson announced several promotions, including three for lieutenants Christopher Delacanal, Timothy O’Neill and Kirk Moore.

The promotions to captain were scheduled to take effect Jan. 28.

But on Jan. 16, Deputy City Manager and Chief Operating Officer Bristol Ellington announced in an email to employees that the promotions would be halted.

“With regards to the Captain positions, we will be holding a new recruitment for the Captain positions once we have fully vetted and considered the proposed changes to the (promotion policy),” he wrote.

Ellington told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Watson wanted to alter how she hires captains, but some changes went into effect before officers had a proper opportunity to comment on the changes. Attempts to reach Watson were unsuccessful.

Officials are starting the policy change process over in accordance with the union contract, he said.

It was not immediately clear which parts of the policy were modified, but the existing policy requires newly promoted captains to have at least 12 years of progressively responsible police experience in the department with at least one year in the rank of lieutenant.

Moore and Delacanal have been lieutenants for less than a year.

Ellington said the changes to the policy have not been finalized and he could not provide a time frame for when the final changes would be posted to an employee-only website for comment.

It is unclear whether the three lieutenants will be eligible for the promotion after the revision process is complete.

“It really is an unknown at this time,” Ellington said.

Because the offers for promotions to captain were rescinded, several officers who faced promotions to sergeant or lieutenant were also put in a holding pattern.

“I apologize for the delay and inconvenience but until we promote the Captains, there are no positions available to which you can promote,” Ellington wrote.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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