City says Why Officer not Fired for Having affair with Fellow Officer’s Wife, Mayor ‘owns’ Controversial hiring Decision

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the Seattle Times released a third story about contentious Snoqualmie Police Officer Nick Hogan, who was hired by the City of Snoqualmie in 2013 after being fired by the City of Tukwila – after Tukwila paid out about $275,000 to settle lawsuits over claims Hogan had used excessive force.

The second story revealed that Hogan had been put on administrative leave by the Snoqualmie Police Department in October 2015. The City of Snoqualmie at the time said that incident was not connected to excessive force and that they had not received any complaints from citizens about Hogan.

This latest story revealed that Officer Hogan was on that administrative leave due to an extra marital affair with a Snoqualmie Police Officer’s wife, which lead to a 20-day without pay suspension.

Since the article’s release, many North Bend and Snoqualmie residents have expressed anger on social media, wanting to know why Officer Hogan was not fired.  Many expressed concern over his history in Tukwila coupled with this latest incident.

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said he ‘owns’ the decision to hire Officer Hogan and knew they were taking a chance on him. He explained that Chief McCulley had spoken to some of Hogan’s superior officers in Tukwila who thought he deserved another chance and a current Snoqualmie police officer who served with Hogan in Iraq also vouched for him during the hiring process in 2013.

Larson added that obviously feelings are different now, but hopes the community won’t judge the rest of the the department’s officers on the actions of one, saying the Snoqualmie Police Department has a great record of service and dedicated officers, with low crime statistics that prove it.

The Mayor also said he knows the hiring process needs to be tightened and the city is committed to improving it. He also plans to meet with officers to address any concerns they have to improve morale. He said he realizes morale has been low – stemming mostly from the increasing law enforcement needs of the growing populations in North Bend and Snoqualmie – and officers are working a lot of overtime. Larson said he knows more officers need to be hired to reduce the overtime hours.

On Wednesday, March 2nd the City of Snoqualmie released more information about Officer Hogan and the incident that led to a five-week suspension.

According to a City FAQ about Officer Hogan:

Hogan engaged in ‘sexting’ while on duty by exchanging sexually explicit text messages, including sharing nude or partially nude photos of himself with the woman who was a police department volunteer and married to another Snoqualmie officer. The two had a consensual, extra-marital relationship that occurred off duty, not on-duty as alluded to in the Seattle Times article, so was therefore not part of the discipline.

Officer Hogan was suspended without pay for 20 working days. Due to the type of shifts worked by police officers, this amounts to a full, five calendar week suspension for the period of January 1st – March 10th.

Hogan was not fired because under the Snoqualmie Police Department’s collective bargaining agreement, an officer may be terminated only for ‘just cause.’  The city went on to explain Hogan received “significant, legal appropriate discipline given his actions and the absence of any prior discipline while working at the City of Snoqualmie.”  Under these circumstances, the sexting conduct for which he was suspended, by itself, does not provide sufficient basis for termination at this time.

The City also clarified that it cannot discipline Hogan for incidents that occurred while he was employed at the City of Tukwila, unless he was untruthful or misled the City of Snoqualmie about them in the process of being hired.  City officials have previously stated they were aware of Officer Hogan’s issues while serving in Tukwila.

The City said while serving in Snoqualmie, all of Officer Hogan’s use of force have been found to be appropriate and were subject to review by the department’s command staff.

As far as disciplining of personnel, per state law, those day-to-day decisions rest with Mayor Larson, who imposed discipline on Officer Hogan.  The city council is not have authority to make these personnel decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Tina Nixon says

    I wish this could be anonymous. I am afraid to speak my mind.

    • timber young says

      I feel you, Tina. But we cannot let fear drive us away from having a voice in our own homes and communities. These people (supposedly) work for us.

  2. timber young says

    It seems when he hired Hogan Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley thought it more important to do a favor for an old military friend (that recommended Hogan) than concern himself with the caliber of officer he was bringing in to our community. I hope this isn’t an indication of where McCulley’s loyalties lie.

    • Snoq Resident says

      How could it be anything but an indication of where McCulley’s loyalties lie. Officer Hogan appears to not be well suited to a career as a police officer. The real lapses in judgment occurred at the chief and mayor level, and they should be held accountable. Neither should keep their jobs in my opinion.

  3. Concerned Resident says

    Guys, you can remain anonymous here if you like. Just because a text box asks for your name doesn’t mean you have to give it. It’s also always a good idea to have an anonymous email online for places that ask for personal information that you don’t want to give, or you suspect will end up farmed out to spammers (not an issue with Living Snoq, of course, but just general good advice.)

    As for me, I don’t like that he was hired (he should have found a new line of work outside of an authority position if he had those issues). This just further shows a lack of good judgement and poor character….again, not someone you want in a position of public trust. :\

    I understand the collective bargaining agreement and respect it. I think it’s a good thing for our officers in general to give them the confidence to do a very difficult job. But the problem is that sort of agreement is not a good fit for people who are giving strong indications that they will cause problems. Because you can’t be proactive and remove them before they cause an issue. Those people generally are supposed to be caught in the hiring process and avoided there.

    That didn’t appear to happen here.

    I am concerned and unhappy with how this is going… 🙁

  4. concerned mother of 3 says

    This really is upsetting to find out both Matt and Steve knew that Nick had been fired for excessive force and still decided to hire him! And now to find out he is having sexual relations with married women. And he says its all personal and nothing to do with work! Please! Nick Hogan, you shouldn’t stand behind a badge and pretend to be one of the good guys, your supossed to be a role model for younger people. We should be able to feel safe when your around, we should be able to trust you, and now nobody can trust you. I feel bad for your wife and kids if you have any.

  5. This really makes me mad. Over the past few months crime has been rampant on the ridge. Drug abuse, stores broken into, car broken into, not to mention home invasions. I rarely see the police patrolling anymore, it looks like Snoqualmie PD is overstretched covering northbend. Sorry WTF Larson sort it out!!! This is unacceptable.

  6. Bad move by the major. will hurt reelection

  7. Concerned citizen says

    What Officer Hogan did happened on duty while he was paid by the hardworking tax payers of both cities. He is a danger to our community. We shouldn’t be afraid of our police force. I know most of the people that work there, and those guys are great. They go above and beyond to serve us. The City of Snoqualmie needs to do the right thing and get rid of this rotten apple before he really hurt someone.

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