Friday, August 22, 2008

Walser's State Patrol Records Reveal More of the Same

The big problem with Fred Walser -- Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 39th LD -- is not simply in what he did in committing his crime, but that a very clear pattern of disturbing and unbecoming behavior has emerged throughout his career.

As Police Chief of Sultan, he covered up, he minimized his wrongdoing, he disobeyed superiors, he ignored rules, and he went after people who got in his way.

He did the same things at the Washington State Patrol.

Walser joined the WSP as a cadet in 1967, and retired in 1995 to run for Snohomish County Sheriff. Walser initially announced his retirement for March, thinking he would be appointed Sheriff, but when Patrick Murphy was appointed instead, he pushed his retirement to June. He once again lost to Murphy in the Democratic primary, ironically saying that "Patrick Murphy is an affront to law enforcement" because of his "untruthfulness" on many issues."

Just two years earlier, the son of Walser's friend Pat Slack -- Pat Slack, Jr. -- was involved in an accident. Walser was an accident investigator for the WSP and was authorized for an off-duty private traffic collision reconstruction business, and decided to help out the Slacks on his own time, completely unrelated to his work with the State Patrol.

Unfortunately, Walser identified himself in the report as a reconstructionist with the WSP, something he was explicitly forbidden from doing in his signed off-duty employment authorization (as well as in a similar authorization seven years earlier).

Walser concluded that Slack, Jr. was not at fault, and that his reconstruction represented "the only way the collision could have occurred." Unfortunately, this directly contradicted the report by the Snohomish Police. The WSP's Traffic Investigation Division out of Tacoma agreed with the police.

But when proven wrong, rather than backing down, Walser did testify in court that his original "only way" conclusion and the police/TID conclusion were both wrong, but then he provided a new theory to exonerate Slack, Jr. TID once again testified that Walser was wrong.

The WSP told Walser his actions:
cost the department and the Snohomish Police Department several thousand dollars, lessened the public's confidence in the department's operation and training, and was motivated by your friendship to Patrick Slack, Sr.

Walser finally agreed to his penalty for the Slack incident on December 20, 1993 -- ironically, the very day before he was promoted to lieutenant.

As with all new lieutenants, Walser was under probation, and was subject to regular performance appraisals. In his May-June 1994 appraisal, his superior writes that:
recent disciplinary action prior to reporting to this assignment has not changed his attitude. He has been adamant that he would do the same thing again if confronted with the same circumstances. This type of action will further subject the patrol to monetary liability.

In the July-August appraisal, it only gets worse.
Walser's judgment is not conducive to a good working relationship with his peers, nor in keeping with advice and counsel of his superiors. ... Fred has made serious allegations resulting in no significant findings. Fred's credibility will be affected by this action. ...

His recent allegations involving TID commanders have had a devastating impact between divisions, particularly when Fred or his units are involved. ... Fred has filed counter allegations against previous command staff. ... this type of action increases the Patrol's investigative costs and potential monetary liability. It is my opinion that Fred's motives are completely self-serving without regard to the internal damage his allegation causes. I question Fred's self-discipline, integrity, reliability, and conduct over the issues bringing disciplinary action and his subsequent allegations and actions.

Walser attempted to dodge and minimize the allegations in his response: "Whether or not I agree with [the] statement is immaterial -- my actions and enthusiasm will demonstrate my loyalty, integrity, and reliability."

The September-October appraisal contains more of the same:
Fred's self-discipline, integrity and conduct are in doubt. The investigation into his allegation against two command personnel has concluded. Fred's allegations were unfounded. At the end of this reporting period, it was brought to my attention that Fred's conduct and integrity should continue to be in doubt. ... His emotional outbursts and attempts to justify his alleged improper decisions are examples of poor conduct on his part. Fred's reliability in the area of setting positive examples is seriously questioned.

It's the same old Fred Walser story, over and over. Covering up. Minimizing wrongdoing. Disobeying superiors. Ignoring rules. Going after people who get in his way.

Whether it was the Slack incident, the fallout from it that followed him into his probationary period as lieutenant, or the Pepperell incident, it's the same things.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I had a problem with Fred when he was police chief in Sultan. There was a problem at the high school and my son at the time under 18 years old was interrogated by Sultan police without adult representation and I went to talk to Fred and he told me, "we will do what ever we want to", to get the truth. He is arrogant and only thinks about himself.
Rob Henderson