City of Snoqualmie Responds About Hiring Former Tukwila Police Officer

city of snoqualmieWednesday, July 15, 2015, the Seattle Times ran a story about Snoqualmie Police Officer Nicholas Hogan, detailing incidents that lead to his termination from the Tukwila Police Department in 2013 and the large settlement Tukwila will pay stemming from one of the incidents

Today, July 17, 2015, The City of Snoqualmie released a statement regarding the hiring of Officer Hogan on February 10 2014.

The City of Snoqualmie stated, “All police officer candidates for the Snoqualmie Police Department are evaluated under a thorough civil service hiring process.”

At the time he was hired, the city said it was aware of the allegations concerning Officer Hogan’s previous employment now being reported on in the media, including the use of force.

The City of Snoqualmie says that in the almost 18 months as a Snoqualmie Police Officer, Hogan has “performed in accordance with police department policies and protocols…and…has not been the subject of any complaints or internal investigations while with the Snoqualmie Police Department.”

According to a presentation to the North Bend City Council last year, Officer Hogan was listed as one of the officers hired by the City of Snoqualmie when the Snoqualmie Police Department took over the police service contract for North Bend.

Since taking over North Bend Police Services in March 2014, the Snoqualmie Police Department has documented reduced crime in city and also hired an additional eighth police officer through voter approved tax funding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. So four other WA state police units pass and Snoqualmie still hires him to represent the city? His aggressive demeanor and temper were repeatedly reported to Tukwila supervisors by his colleagues at his last job not withstanding his track record of having more arrests using force than any other officer during his time there? Hopefully you can post his picture so the residents of Snoqualmie can stay as far away from him as possible or turn on our cameras the second any of us have an interaction with him.

  2. They hired this officer knowing full well what was going on (broken bones and second chances). This does not speak well for the decision making within the Human Resource Department, yet alone the Police Department, and Mayor of Snoqualmie. Their “public statement” is a slap in the face to the law abiding tax payer.

  3. Joan Pliego says

    Hello Jane and Ben,

    I am Joan Pliego, the Public Information Officer for the City of Snoqualmie.

    Officer Hogan began work for the City of Snoqualmie on February 10, 2014 after a thorough Civil Service examination and testing process. Officer Hogan was hired from a list of three candidates certified by the Snoqualmie Civil Service Commission.

    At the time of Officer Hogan’s hiring, the City of Snoqualmie was generally aware of allegations made about Officer Hogan while he was employed by the Tukwila Police Department. The formal complaint against Officer Hogan described in media reports was not filed in federal court until May 2014, after Officer Hogan had already served several months as a Snoqualmie Police Officer. In reviewing Officer Hogan’s suitability for hiring, the City of Snoqualmie received multiple positive job references from individuals who had worked with Officer Hogan, including references for his four years as a military police officer in the United States Army.

    In nearly 18 months of employment as a Snoqualmie police officer, Officer Hogan has performed in accordance with police department policies and protocols. He has not been the subject of any complaints or internal investigations while in Snoqualmie. The Snoqualmie Police Department has received multiple compliments about Officer Hogan’s work and interaction with the public.

    I encourage you to contact me directly about any city-related business in the future. I do not follow the comments on Living Snoqualmie, so you will have a quicker and most accurate response by contacting me directly.

    Sincerely,
    Joan Pliego
    jpliego@ci.snoqualmie.wa.us
    425-281-3317

    • Mrs. Pliego,
      I see by your response that either you or someone in authority within city government follows the comments on Living Snoqualmie. But getting on with your recent reply – once again the city provides nothing but an excuse for a failed hiring system as well as poor decision making process. First, your hiring process should have obtained all background information on the officer from the City of Tukwilla BEFORE the law suit was filed. The other cities the officer applied to before Snoqualmie had this information. Second, in the hiring process how did the officer preform on the polygraph and psychological testing? Or a better question — was he required to take them? Further, from your statement there is no indication that a professional Background Investigation was performed. The worst thing a Human Resource Department can do is only go by offered references and forgo a complete Background Investigation. In the future I would suggest who ever at the city directed you to response to these comments be more honest with the information, engage in fixing your broken hiring system, admit mistakes were made and from now on the process will be repaired for future police hiring. I just want to feel safe in my city — this incident and the corresponding City of Snoqualmie formal statements — do not make me feel safe all. In fact Ben in his reply above has a very good point that needs addressing.

      • Jane, I agree with you completely. And even if a “complete” background check was done, wouldn’t a reasonable person determine that this guy is not a good fit as a police officer? How did he pass all of the tests? Or did he? It seems every other city came to the same conclusion, what changed when he applied at snoqualmie? I’d like to see the paper trail on the hiring process, might shed some light.

  4. It sounds to me like Snoqualmie police is covering for this officer. Why on earth does this officer deserve a second chance as a police officer?? Maybe he’d be better suited working construction somewhere. And I’ve heard from friends in the valley that this kid is in fact “badge heavy.” Way to go snoqualmie. Glad my tax dollars are being spent wisely.

  5. Joan Pliego says

    If you have further comments, please direct them to me at jpliego@ci.snoqualmie.wa.us. I do not follow these comments regularly and will not continue to respond about this issue on this site. Thank you.

    • Mrs. Pliego,
      In reply to your last post on July 20 st — sorry to see that you do not follow Living Snoqualmie. After all it was the City of Snoqualmie that released two official statements to the media defending the hiring of the fired police officer from Tukwila who was terminated for lying and use of force. I see no reason why I should telephone you for information. In fact according to the Seattle Times article of July 18th, you and Mayor Larson did not return telephone messages and Police Chief McCulley declined to answer questions on the hiring of Officer Hogan. The article further states that you (Pliego) did respond by email saying the mayor, city administrator and police chief were all aware of the allegations at Tukwila. If you can email the Seattle Times, you can email a post to Living Snoqualmie. Personally I feel Mayor Larson should address the public with another press release on what he intends to do about the matter instead of defending a very poor decision on his and his employee’s part to employ an officer with such a record. Rich was correct in his summary comment — this officer had a chance for a police career and blew it big time. Then the issue of the Straight Edge gang connection/ philosophy leads back to my earlier comments on what happened with the polygraph and psychological testing. The next time something happens involving this officer the city will be on the hook with no recourse. And once again I do not feel safe with the city’s dealing of the issue and I am beginning to wonder if other city decisions are made with such lack of forethought. The last issue – the cover up needs to stop and the Mayor or someone in the city needs to be fired.

  6. Chris Anderson says

    From the Seattle Times article:
    ‘The city of Tukwila will pay $175,000 to an African-American man who overheard a white officer say: “This one isn’t going to play basketball anymore,” after his ankle was stomped on and broken during a violent 2011 arrest. Turner said he dropped to the ground “because he didn’t want the officer to think he was trying to fight,” but was accosted by Hogan and other officers who used a Taser on him twice and pepper-sprayed him. Hogan … reportedly stomped on his ankle, breaking it with a loud snap, the lawsuit alleges. It is the second six-figure payout by Tukwila stemming from actions by former Officer Nicholas Hogan. The city paid $100,000 to another man in 2013 after Hogan broke his arm during an arrest and then tried to cover it up, according to court documents.’

    ‘A tattoo reading “Straight Edge XXX” on Hogan’s chest was recognized by the National Gang Research Center as being used by “hardcore .… members.” The tattoos were described by a Bellevue police detective as “gang-like in style, font and format,” according to court documents.’

    ‘In the two years he was on the streets, according to court documents, Hogan racked up more arrests — and more incidents using force — than any other Tukwila officer. His aggressive demeanor and temper were repeatedly reported to Tukwila supervisors by his colleagues, according to the lawsuit.’

    ‘Hogan was fired after two other incidents in which he used force against intoxicated African-American men, including one man who was reportedly pepper-sprayed while restrained hand and foot on a gurney at Harborview Medical Center, according to reports.’

    And the city wants us to believe that he was the better of the three candidates?

  7. Thanks Chris for pointing out the obvious. The officer has cost the city of Tukwilla over $400 dollars with incidents stemming back to 2011. “Two lawsuits naming Officer Nick Hogan cost Tukwila more than $425,000”.

    That should have come up in your vetting process. You are either very sloppy at city haul or don’t care. With all the recent news around police culture and over use of force, the city could not have made a worse choice.

    This is unacceptable and I feel that from the mayor on down your service is no longer required and it is time to put people in the office who are generally concerned about the welfare of the community.

  8. in case you missed it here is the article Seattle Times ran.

    Snoqualmie police officials say they were “aware of allegations” concerning an officer the city hired in 2013 after he was fired by the city of Tukwila for multiple incidents of excessive use of force.

    Two lawsuits naming Officer Nick Hogan cost Tukwila more than $425,000 in out-of-court settlements and fees.

    Hogan, hired by Snoqualmie 18 months ago, “has performed in accordance with police department policies and protocol” and “has not been the subject of any complaints or internal investigations,” the city said in a prepared statement Friday, in response to a Seattle Times story that detailed a $175,000 settlement the city of Tukwila reached last week with Robert Turner, whose ankle was broken during an April 2011 arrest by Hogan and other officers.

    Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley declined to answer questions regarding his decision to hire Hogan. Telephone messages to Mayor Matthew Larson, City Administrator Robert Larson and city spokeswoman Joan Pliego were not returned.

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    In an email, Pliego said the mayor, the city administrator and the chief were all aware of the allegations against Hogan.

    Hogan was hired by Tukwila in 2009 and fired in 2011 after two other use-of-force incidents besides the complaint made by Turner.

    Turner, an African-American man, was arrested April 16, 2011, after police responded to a report of gunfire at a car-club party. No weapons were found, however Hogan detained a man. When Turner approached him to ask why, Hogan reportedly slipped while telling Turner to stand back, and stood up swinging, according to the complaint.

    Several officers took Turner to the ground, and one — Turner believed it was Hogan — stomped on his ankle, breaking it with a loud snap. Turner said Hogan commented: “This one isn’t going to play basketball anymore,” according to federal court records.

    Hogan then handcuffed Turner, according to court records, and made him walk to the patrol car on his broken ankle — which required surgery and metal screws to repair.

    Attorneys representing Turner dug up information showing that four other police departments had rejected Hogan’s application to be a police officer, and two of them — Seattle and Bellevue — expressed concerns to Tukwila about Hogan’s apparent affiliation with a movement called “Straight Edge,” which court documents indicate is considered a gang by some police agencies.

    Straight Edge followers eschew drugs and alcohol, and have been known to use violence and intimidation to force their beliefs on others.

    Fife and Tacoma also rejected him as an officer candidate.

    While Hogan worked for the Tukwila Police Department, records show, he accumulated more use-of-force complaints than any other officer and was sued for civil-rights violations in federal court twice — by Turner and by another African-American man, Alvin Walker.

    Walker collected $150,000 from the city for settling claims alleging Hogan broke his elbow during an arrest and that, afterward, another officer pepper-sprayed him and left him handcuffed and in agony in the back of a patrol car.

    That incident occurred in June 2011, two months after Turner’s arrest and injury.

    Walker’s settlement not only addressed his broken arm, but also the admission by Tukwila that it violated public-disclosure laws by failing to turn over to Walker’s attorneys more than 1,000 pages of documents — most of them involving internal-affairs investigations into Hogan, said lawyer Joseph Shaeffer, one of Walker’s attorneys.

    Tukwila Chief Mike Villa fired Hogan for the Walker arrest and another incident in which Hogan pepper-sprayed an unidentified man who was restrained on a gurney at Harborview Medical Center, according to court documents. He was never disciplined for what happened to Turner.

    Tukwila has declined to discuss the settlements; however, department spokeswoman Zachary Anderson said there were “some very good reasons [Officer Hogan] is no longer with us.”

  9. Ron Hoare says

    My family will not be buying gas in Snoqualmie nor North Bend on our frequent trips to Seattle any longer. And the ‘back-to-school” shopping at the factory direct mall in North Bend will no longer take place.

    what will Joan Pliego say when he kills someone? claim it was justified of course.

  10. just had to circle back around- So now we know that the officers wrote letters to the city management stating that during initial orientation fellow officers expressed concerns- they were ignored and told to let him continue!! And then the city attorney BOB STERBANK basically called them liars and dismissed their complaints saying that they only filed it because he had an affair the a fellow officers wife. Bob Sterbank, Bob Larson and Matt Larson ALL need to be fired and RECALLED,

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