Prosser Police Chief’s History May Be Repeating Itself
Ten months after being hired to replace former Police Chief David Giles, current Prosser Police Chief Jay King has found himself in a situation very similar to one he just left.
King was the Police Chief of the Unalaska Police Department in Alaska when he was hired by former Prosser Mayor Randy Taylor. During his time leading the UPD, King was named in four lawsuits filed against the department.
The lawsuits were filed during King's time as Chief, but many of the incidents cited occurred before he took over the Department. King was, however, named in the suits for ignoring harassment complaints, overlooking misconduct, and acting aggressively towards officers. The lawsuits were eventually settled, without an admission of wrongdoing, for $765,000 and King resigned not long after.
Yesterday afternoon the City of Prosser announced that King was being placed on Administrative Leave and an independent investigation, beginning January 17th, will be conducted by a third party into allegations made by Prosser Police Staff against the Chief. That Investigator is Lance King, an Attorney from Tukwila, WA.
This follows the Teamster Union No. 839, which represents Prosser Police Officers, issuing a unanimous vote of no confidence in King based on multiple allegations. The four page airing of grievances began with the statement:
The Union has lost all trust, faith, and confidence in Chief King.
The Union alleged the creation of a hostile work environment, the destruction of officer morale, inappropriate allocation of city funds and resources, is incompetent as a law enforcement officer and administrator in the State of Washington, has often, and repeatedly, violated the most basic officer safety practices while on uniformed duty and at critical scenes, and has violated trust by practicing nepotism.
The investigation will last "until all pertinent concerns are thoroughly investigated" according to the City's official release. 25 year PPD veteran, Sergeant John Markus, will lead the department as Interim Police Chief in King's stead.
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Gallery Credit: Chad Childers