Henderson police leaders accused of trying to bust labor groups

Updated November 21, 2018 - 7:44 pm

Two Henderson police unions have accused department leaders of trying to bust the labor groups by threatening and discriminating against the organizations’ members.

The Henderson Police Officers Association and Henderson Police Supervisors Association filed the complaint with the state-run Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board on Nov. 16. Chief LaTesha Watson, Deputy Chief Thedrick Andres, the Henderson Police Department and the city of Henderson are named in the filing.

“What (Watson) is doing is trampling on these people’s rights and trying to break unions in the process,“ said Richard McCann, executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, who is representing both unions.

The detailed complaint maps out accusations of leadership intimidating and retaliating against officers for being involved in union activities.

Attempts to reach Watson and Andres were unsuccessful Wednesday. The city said many of the claims in the filing are in dispute, without specifying.

“The City of Henderson values its employees and is committed to ensuring a safe and fair work place for all. The City maintains a strong relationship with its labor groups and works proactively to find pragmatic solutions to any concerns and issues that may be identified,” City Manager Richard Derrick said in a statement.

“The City is aware of the concerns outlined in the (Employee Management-Relations Board) complaint and is taking appropriate action to address these issues, but we will also not hesitate to defend the City and its employees against the allegations that have been made, many of which are in dispute.”

According to the complaint, in a June meeting, Andres told Sgt. Kevin Abernathy, president of the Henderson Police Supervisors Association, to separate work from union matters. Watson reportedly told Abernathy that she has a “mole” in the union and was being leaked information.

The next month, Abernathy received a notice that his conduct as union president was “blatantly disrespectful and unprofessional.”

Watson told Abernathy that his union-related activity “diminishes the very nature of what a law enforcement organization should stand for and set the example for society to follow,” according to the document.

“We set the standard. I will not tolerate this type of behavior and it should not occur again,” Watson is accused of saying.

Abernathy filed a written response to the notice last month, claiming the conduct that prompted admonishment was related to his work with the union, not his job in the department. He claimed that part of the admonishment was a threat toward his position as sergeant due to his role with the union.

Andres also had numerous conversations with Lt. Hollie Chadwick, secretary of the supervisors union, alerting her that her friendship with Abernathy “could be seen as detrimental to her career track,” according to the complaint. In June and July, Chadwick was denied assignments that the complaint says were part of an effort to prevent her from climbing the ranks. She was passed up to serve as an acting captain despite her “advanced qualifications,” according to the document.

In a meeting on June 19, Watson allegedly told Abernathy and Chadwick that they could not trust anyone in the department and should speak only to loved ones at home.

In September, then-Acting Capt. Edward Tyndall told Chadwick she needed to “start handling Abernathy or he was going to ruin her career,” the document reads. About the time of this meeting, Tyndall was promoted to captain.

In another instance, an officer claims she was denied a job with an investigative unit because of her position with the police officers union. The complaint also alleges that decision was made, in part, because the officer is a transgender woman “representing distinctly contrary social values and a lifestyle that conflicts with the religious values being touted by WATSON throughout the DEPARTMENT.”

The complaint also alleges Watson is violating state law by changing disciplinary procedures without engaging in bargaining.

Watson joined the department last November as an outsider and reformer from Arlington, Texas, where she worked as a deputy chief. Her arrival came months after former Chief Patrick Moers left the department amid controversy.

She has shrugged off complaints about her as being the result of employees unhappy with her aggressive pursuit of change. But McCann said resistance by department employees is not what the complaint is about.

“Change is fine, but there’s rules,” he said.

Neither the city nor the Police Department had been served with the complaint this week.

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

Valentine's Day Brings Wet Weather To Las Vegas
Parts of the Las Vegas Valley received more than an inch of rain by 1 p.m. Thursday, triggering numerous vehicle accidents, sparking flooding and prompting at least two swift-water rescues in flood channels. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Artist sends love from the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Artist Chris O'Rourke has a giant heart mounted in the back of pickup positioned for photos at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on the Las Vegas Strip on Valentine's Day 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain doesn't dampen weddings on Valentine's Day
Charolette Richards, owner of A Little White Wedding Chapel who has been performing weddings for 60 years, started Valentine’s Day 2019 by performing a wdding for Las Vegas couple David and Elaine Cook at the chapel’s Tunnel of Love drive-thru. Richards has over 100 weddings booked for Valentine’s Day. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Swift-water rescue in Las Vegas
The Clark County Fire Department rescued one person from the flooded Durango Wash in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rainy and soggy on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day across the Las Vegas Valley will be soggy and wet. A flood advisory has been issued for Clark County. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Early morning rainfall in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas valley was hit with rainfall early Thursday morning. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success
Janelle Veith, Quest Academy principal, talks about her school success. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Learning how to create your own comic book
Jean Munson talks about the class she teaches at the Maximum Comics in Henderson on creating and publishing your own comic book.
Top Ladies of Distinction unveils second Las Vegas chapter
Officers Clair Hart and Rose Coker discuss the service organization’s work and mission.
The Animal Foundation Opens New Wing
On Tuesday, The Animal Foundation opened the doors to its new Engelstad Foundation Adoption center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas firefighter skates from ice to fire
Darcy Loewen, a former pro hockey player, finds a new career as a North Las Vegas firefighter. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carnival AirShip floats over Las Vegas
Carnival Cruise flew a blimp over the LAs Vegas Valley on Thursday in a promotion for its new Carnival Panorama ship. (Mat luschek/Review-Journal)
Pedestrian dies after crash at Decatur and Alta
Las Vegas police investigate a fatal crash that killed a pedestrian at Decatur Boulevard and Alta Driver about 6 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars Cosplayers Visit Sick Kids At Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
Members of Coruscant Base, a Star Wars cosplay group, visit kids at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Hail and wet snow in Las Vegas
The western edges of Las Vegas saw some hail and wet snow on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer Jim Rhodes lists his mansion for $30 million
Jim Rhodes, a developer, has listed his mansion in Spanish Hills community for $30 million. The mansion is situated on 2 acres of land and features 19,345 square feet of living space. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Court ruling brings hope to local Vietnam veteran
Blue Water Navy Veteran Michael Yates talks about possible medical benefits he could receive after a federal court ruling this week. Yates claims he was exposed to Agent Orange and attributes that to his health problems, which include cancer.
Las Vegas charter school excels in areas of greatest need
Mater Academy Mountain Vista charter school students excel despite the fact that half the students are English language learners and all qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in downtown Las Vegas
The 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, themed "Living the Dream: One People, One Nation, One Dream," took place in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New MLK freeway onramps
How to navigate the trio of new freeway onramps from Martin Luther King Boulevard. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Campus Village next to UNLV gets demolished
Demolition of Campus Village shopping center, on Maryland Parkway across from UNLV, begins to make way for new development.
Extreme weather closes Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon
High winds and flooding closed the Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area Thursday. Minor flooding across Highway 159 caused drivers to slow, but didn't close the road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists enjoy rain in downtown Las Vegas
Tourists break out the umbrellas. But Brian Herting of Lincoln, Nebraska, dons shorts and a T-shirt, as he makes his way through downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday. The National Weather Service.forecast called for a 50 percent chance of rain. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse video of fog covering the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is shrouded in fog Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Tony Spilotro's Las Vegas home for sale — VIDEO
The former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer, Tony Spilotro, is now for sale. Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film Casino, is the original owner of the home at 4675 Balfour Drive, built in 1974. (Samia DeCubas/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Drive And Mountains Edge Parkway Fatal
Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash in the southwest valley on Saturday afternoon. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like