Police Chief Latesha Watson is on paid administrative leave as of Thursday until further notice, according to a city of Henderson spokeswoman. Senior Public information officer Kathleen Richards told 8 News Now she could not say why and no interviews would be provided by city staff to explain why Watson was placed on administrative leave.
Watson’s base salary is more than $190,000.
8 News Now obtained five internal memos from late 2018 that details complaints about Chief Watson and investigations. The I-Team learned that the unions representing Henderson police officers and supervisors filed a complaint against Chief Watson, the City of Henderson, the police department, and Deputy Chief Thedrick Andres in late 2018.
Rick McCann, a spokesman for the unions pointed to “union busting.”
“When you snub your nose at the unions, what they stand for, the representation they provide, then you are trying to break that union process,” McCann said. “We call that union busting.”
McCann claims jobs were lost, and disciplinary action, promotions, and orders did not happen the way they should have.
“At some point in time, you have to say enough is enough,” McCann told 8 News Now. “You don’t break the rules just in the idea that ‘hey I’m the chief dog, I can do what I want to do and if you don’t like it, too bad.’ Well, too bad turned into a union-busting complaint. Too bad turned into a series of investigations. Too bad turned into today.”
“The Henderson Police Officers’ Association (HPOA) represents 378 rank and file police and corrections officers of the City of Henderson,” said Kenneth R. Kerby President of #1247, Henderson Police Officers’ Association. “We enjoy a longstanding, collaborative relationship with City Management, the Mayor and Council. We were informed of the news regarding Chief Watson being placed on administrative leave this morning via email. The City does not discuss personnel matters publicly, and our Association has no information to share with regards to Chief Watson. What we want the citizens of our great City to know is that we will continue to provide the world-class police services that they have come to expect and enjoy. These services have earned our City accolades from many sources as one of the safest cities in America, and that will not change.”
The I-Team tried to get Watson’s side of the story, but she could not be reached Thursday.
Deputy Chief Thedrick Andres has been named acting chief of the Henderson Police Department. He and Watson both came from Arlington, Texas.
“Deputy Police Chief Thedrick Andres has been named the acting police chief for the Henderson Police Department and Chief LaTesha Watson is on administrative leave until further notice,” said Kathleen Richards, Senior Public Information Officer for the City of Henderson. “City Manager Richard Derrick has the utmost confidence in the department’s leadership and Henderson will continue to be one of America’s safest cities thanks to the many fine officers and civilians that work at the Henderson Police Department.”
Watson was named police chief in September of 2017. She replaced former Chief Patrick Moers after he was removed from duty. He said false sexual harassment claims were made against him. He also tried to sue the City of Henderson.