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Henderson police unions vote no confidence in police chief

Updated November 3, 2022 - 6:48 pm

Both Henderson police unions voted “no confidence” in Chief Thedrick Andres, the unions announced Wednesday.

A statement from the Henderson Police Officers and Henderson Police Supervisors associations said that more than 95 percent of their respective members who voted last weekend said they had no confidence in their chief.

“The underlying point that led to this no-confidence vote is the city and the chief would like everyone to believe that they’re all about this new era of transparency,” said Andrew Regenbaum, executive director for the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, in an interview. “You can only have transparency if you’re being honest, you have open discussions and dialogue with all of the stakeholders.”

The city, in a brief statement, supported Andres. “This vote does not change the City of Henderson leadership’s support for and confidence in Police Chief Thedrick Andres,” the statement said.

The unions cited the department’s new Use of Force Policy, which was announced Tuesday, as a point of contention, saying the unions did not get a chance to collaborate on it. The policy was not publicly available.

Jeff Crampton, a civilian board member of the officers association, said the union has hired outside counsel to review how it plans to fight the policy in a union contract.

Hostile environment

The unions wrote in the statement Wednesday that Andres had cultivated a hostile work environment and discriminated against officers based on gender and sexuality.

“If you want to understand the morale of the Henderson Police Department, ask an officer — ours have spoken,” supervisors association President Chris Aguiar wrote in the statement. “Despite Chief Andres’ inherent lack of leadership, our officers continue to answer the call to keep our community safe. We have no doubt that Chief Andres’ retaliation as a result of this vote will be swift and wide-reaching. It is how he operates and always has when faced with fair and unbiased criticism.”

Crampton said the unions will present the results to the Henderson City Council at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 15.

“The decision was made, and a thoughtful consideration was made, to not release the results and numbers until after the election,” Crampton said. “It was an unpopular decision. The troops are fired up about it.”

Andres was sworn in as police chief in July 2019. Before taking the role, he had more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement that included positions at Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola State Prison, the New Orleans Police Department and the Arlington Police Department, according to the city’s website.

He took over from former Chief LaTesha Watson who was fired in April 2019. Watson filed a lawsuit against the city in September 2020 alleging she faced racial and gender discrimination.

At the time of his hiring, the city said Andres would earn just more than $200,000 as police chief.

Last month, Henderson City Council candidate Carrie Cox accused the police department administration of deleting or minimizing crime data after an internal email showed robberies spiked 90 percent compared with the year before. The department declined to provide the data cited in the internal email.

Cox is running against Trish Nash, who disagreed with the claims that crime was rising and accused Cox of spreading misinformation.

Union president suspended

The no-confidence vote comes as Gary Hargis, president of the Henderson Police Officers Association, has been suspended by the police department pending the outcome of an investigation into his involvement in a hit-and-run crash on Oct. 13.

Hargis, 47, has not been arrested, cited or charged with any crimes related to the collision near the intersection of Greenway Road and Van Wagenen Street, just off South Boulder Highway, just after midnight.

A city spokesperson said Monday that the investigation into Hargis is ongoing.

A police incident report listed Hargis as a suspect in the hit-and run, and the suspected vehicle that struck a motorcyclist and allegedly fled the scene was registered to Hargis’ wife.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter. Review-Journal staff reporter David Wilson contributed to this report.

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