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BREAKING NEWS

King Co. Sheriff Decides Discipline for Detective
For ‘conduct unbecoming’ incident

August 10, 2018



Chronicle staff

(SEATTLE, WA.) – King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht has announced that, in the interest of transparency and maintaining public trust in law enforcement, she is releasing details about a recent disciplinary matter involving a King County Detective.

In Washington State, personnel records of public employees that contain information regarding instances of misconduct are public records and available to the public.

Johanknecht has decided that KCSO Detective Janette Luitgaarden will serve a 4 day, 40 hour suspension without pay for “Conduct Unbecoming” for an off-duty incident that occurred on November 4, 2017.

Johanknecht reached her decision after the conclusion of an internal investigation and a hearing (called a Loudermill hearing) where Detective Luitgaarden was able to present “additional mitigating information to the Sheriff,” according to a statement released by the KCSO.

The Uber drive incident

The internal probe concluded that Detective Luitgaarden “punched, kicked, scratched and slapped an Uber driver during a ride to her home around 7pm.  A WSP Trooper, who responded to the incident, noted Luitgaarden appeared “significantly intoxicated.”

Johanknecht notes the Uber driver did not wish to pursue charges against Detective Luitgaarden and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office also declined to file charges in the case. Despite this, Sheriff Johanknecht determined Luitgaarden’s actions that night “were embarrassing to the Sheriff’s Office and our profession.”

Our employees should never behave in a way that diminishes public trust and respect for law enforcement” said Sheriff Johanknecht. “While I recognize that law enforcement is a stressful profession and our employees will, from time to time, struggle with personal difficulties, I expect our law enforcement and professional staff members to act lawfully and be good role models.”

The following documents from this incident and investigation have been uploaded to OneDrive at:

https://kc1-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/kimberley_whitehead_kingcounty_gov/Et8Fq99GP_lFp0140rh51x8BHvK-9PNX3SascQ1fw9HOTw?e=qP5wUg

 
·        Final Letter

·        DashCam Video (State Patrol)

·        Luitgaarden Statement

·        Victim Statement

·        911 recordings

·        Decline Memo

Luitgaarden is entitled to challenge the Sheriff’s decision through a grievance process, with the assistance of her union.












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