State Patrol Disciplines Six For Sexual, Racial Harassment
TACOMA - Six Washington State Patrol officers and troopers have been disciplined after last fall's internal investigation into sexual and racial harassment at the Tacoma district office, officials said.
Dan Davis, president of the Washington State Troopers Association, said management overreacted to the incident and created ``paranoia'' among male and female troopers at the Tacoma station.
``I don't believe it was an overreaction,'' said Maj. Harvey Thacker, head of the department's Office of Professional Standards. ``I think the discipline was warranted.''
Davis confirmed two troopers had slipped a picture of a semi-nude woman into a stack of accident photographs and showed it to a female trooper. A third trooper told a racist joke that was brought up during the harassment case.
Lt. William O'Hare and Lt. Doug Thoet were each suspended for one day without pay for failure to supervise, while Sgt. Archie Bergstrom was suspended for seven days without pay for sexual harassment. A second sergeant who was reportedly reprimanded for failure to supervise was not named. Trooper Tom Billingsly was suspended for three days without pay, and trooper Michael Anderson was suspended for eight days. They may appeal their suspensions.
Action against a third trooper, Don Lee, has been continued until March to allow attorneys to argue whether he was discriminated against during the investigation.
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