Veteran King County sergeant fired for deception

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @LByronK5

KING5.com

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 8:40 PM

Andrea Alexander was hired by the King County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in 1987 and moved up quickly through the ranks.  In 1994, Alexander was praised as an “excellent employee” and transferred, at her request, to the Special Assault Unit.  As a detective, Alexander led community meetings to notify residents about sex offenders moving into their neighborhoods.  In 2004, she was promoted to Sergeant.

But this past Monday, December 2, Sgt. Andrea Alexander was fired. 

According to this termination letter written by King County Sheriff John Urquhart and obtained through public disclosure, Alexander was fired for “proven deception” and for “refusal to accept responsibility” when confronted about a financial impropriety.

Alexander had been receiving a 2 ½ percent premium for working as a PTO (Patrol Training Officer).  But in April 2012 her boss moved her out of that position and failed to notify payroll.

Alexander continued to get the premium pay for nine and a half months, a total of $2018. 

According to the termination letter Alexander "admitted taking the money" but defended it by saying "I'm tired of doing someone else's work."  She also complained she'd been unfairly moved from her assignment as a patrol training officer.

Following an internal investigation, Alexander’s precinct commander, Major Brad Thompson, recommended Alexander receive a 20 day suspension without pay, be demoted from sergeant to deputy, and pay restitution to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
 
Alexander requested a hearing, called a Loudermill Hearing, with Sheriff Urquhart to appeal the recommended discipline.  Instead of giving her a break, the sheriff gave her the boot.

Asked why, Sheriff Urquhart told KING 5:  “Because it was an important case.  It was a dishonesty case.  I think this was the appropriate discipline in this particular case. Simple as that."

It’s unusual for a sheriff to increase discipline following a Loudermill hearing, which is conducted at the request of an employee who wishes to explain or refute conclusions reached during an internal investigation.  Following the Loudermill hearing, the sheriff can lessen the discipline, leave it the same, or increase it.

In explaining his decision to fire Alexander, Sheriff Urquhart wrote:  “As Sheriff, I have to have trust and confidence in your honesty, candor and professional judgment. Your proven deception, and refusal to accept responsibility, whether viewed in isolation or together, have irretrievably damaged the trust and confidence that are necessary for you to be an effective member of this office.”

KING 5 was unable to reach Alexander for comment on her case.  

She has the option of asking the King County Police Officer’s Guild to fight her termination by taking it to arbitration.  Calls to the guild were not returned.

Alexander 2013 Loudermill Hearing Letter

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