LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A “no confidence” vote on Henderson Police Chief Thedrick Andres announced this week came with criticism of city government and a demand for new police leadership.
Police describe Andres as an “outsider” who is trying to fix what isn’t broken. Andres was named chief in July of 2019 after Chief LaTesha Watson was fired. Watson, who hired Andres, was fired following internal investigations and conflict with police unions. Andres came to Henderson from Arlington, Texas.
Two Henderson police organizations representing officers and supervisors announced Wednesday that members had overwhelmingly voted “no confidence” in Andres. A news release from a statewide police group said the appointment of Andres was “rushed” and said he lacked proper qualifications for the job.
The 397-member Henderson Police Officer’s Association (HPOA) and the 67-member Henderson Police Supervisors Association (HPSA) held votes on Andres. The HPOA reported that 322 members participated and 95.3% voted “no confidence” — more than three-quarters of the entire membership. The HPSA said 59 members participated and 96.6% voted “no confidence” — 85% of the total membership.
“If you want to understand the morale of the Henderson Police Department, ask an officer – ours have spoken,” HPSA President Chris Aguilar said.
“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,” said HPSA President Chris Aguiar. “It is how he operates and always has when faced with fair and unbiased criticism,” Aguilar said.
The City of Henderson released this statement: “This vote does not change the City of Henderson leadership’s support for and confidence in Police Chief Thedrick Andres.”
A news release on Wednesday from the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers (NAPSO) offered a list of grievances that included cultivating a hostile work environment that led tenured employees to retire early. Other complaints included discrimination and harassment of LGBTQ officers, refusal to collaborate on Use of Force policy development, failing to follow policy on collective bargaining agreements, violating civil rights on urine samples, failure to make promotions in a timely manner, manipulating promotion lists, refusal to collaborate on revisions to drug testing policy and “targeting and retaliating” against employees who voice opinions in opposition to his.”
“This outsider came to Henderson with a ‘mission’ to fix and reform a department which was not broken,” according to Andrew Regenbaum, executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.
“An outsider who sought to replace and redo policing policies which were already proper and effective. An outsider who sought to portray a new era of ‘transparency’ by refusing to discuss policies or decisions with anyone outside his inner circle,” Regenbaum said. “The chief has been allowed to operate without any checks or balances on his authority and he has been given unfettered latitude to change personnel, policies and procedures without any evidentiary basis or need.”
The unions criticized Henderson leaders’ inaction. The NAPSO news release also said hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on “executive coaching” and consultant fees aimed at covering or correcting the chief’s failures. “These are our tax dollars which could be better used to address a long list of community needs rather than building a ‘bunker’ to protect a rushed and unqualified police chief appointment.”
The unions are asking the city to act.
“It is time for the leaders of the City of Henderson to answer our call. The men and women of the
Henderson Police Department deserve better leadership.”