By ELISE GIORDANO
5/15/15 Update: In our last issue, The Skagway News stated that charges against Skagway Police Chief Ray Leggett had been dismissed, when in fact dismissing them was only a recommendation by the hearing officer.
The Alaska Police Standards Council’s Executive Director Kelly Alzaharna said in complaints such as these, when a hearing is requested, a hearing officer hears the facts and makes a recommendation to the council.
Leggett requested a hearing, but according to Alzaharna, the officer didn’t hold a hearing but still recommended that the council drop the charges.
“We have not had a case like this before,” she said.
While the council will review the hearing officer’s comments, they are not bound by his decision.
The council won’t review Leggett’s case until December.
“We are really back to where it was when we were first notified,” Alzaharna said. “We are waiting to see what is going to happen.”
4/24/15- Charges that threatened Skagway Police Chief Ray Leggett’s police certification have been dismissed after two years of investigation, according to an Office of Administrative Hearings order of dismissal.
Alaska Police Standards Council’s Executive Director Kelly Alzaharna began investigating Leggett in 2012 after his son Mitchell Leggett was arrested in Haines for alleged credit card theft. According to court documents, Mitchell has autism.
After his son’s arrest, Leggett performed a Computer Voice Stress Analysis on Mitchell, a test similar to a lie detector test but with different equipment.
After performing the test, Leggett told Haines officer Simon Ford that Mitchell was not guilty of the said crimes.
Ford felt uncomfortable with Leggett performing the test, and contacted District Attorney Amy Williams. The concerns were forwarded to the Alaska Police Standards Council.
After several months of investigation, Alzaharna recommended that Leggett’s police certification be revoked, saying in her complaint that he lacked moral character, according to public record.
Leggett requested a hearing and the case was moved to the Office of Administration Hearing, where Administrative Law Judge Mark T. Handley dismissed the charges.
As part of the dismissal, Leggett argued that he was exempt from having to meet the requirement and jurisdiction of the Alaska Police Standards Council because he is the police chief of the Skagway Police Department.
The standards require that a person may not be appointed as a police officer unless they have completed adequate police training and possess qualifications established by the council, such as minimum age, education, physical and mental standards and moral character.
The standards go on to say that the council “may deny or revoke the certificate of a police officer who does not meet the standards.”
The statutory language also features exemptions, which states that the commissioner, deputy commissioner of public safety and the chief administrative officers of local police departments are exempt from the requirement, making the complaint against Leggett void.
“The Director’s case against Mr. Leggett is based on his alleged failure to meet one of the requirements he is not required to meet while he remains in that office,” the document reads.
Therefore, the charges were dropped.
Though Leggett’s certification may have been at stake, his job as Skagway’s Chief of Police was not. Both parties agreed that he did not require a certificate to remain in the position. It is a decision for the municipality to make.
Though the charges against him were dismissed, Leggett did not want to comment at this time, per his lawyer’s instructions.