Port of Seattle Dismisses Police Chief

The Port of Seattle police Chief Rodney Covey has had his employment terminated by the port following a lengthy investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct, according to an Aug. 13 Seattle Times report.

Covey, who had been on paid administrative leave since June 2020 was fired following completion of the investigation, according to two people who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity.

At the time of Covey’s suspension, port officials would not publicly specify the allegations against Covey that led to his being placed on leave.

“These are workplace responsibility complaints that are directly related to allegations regarding the treatment of employees under the port’s employment policies and Code of Conduct,” port spokesman Peter McGraw stated in June 2020 email.

However, it was revealed in July 2020 that a Black port police officer was suing the port, alleging in a complaint filed in last year in King County Superior Court that his superiors, including Covey, were subjecting him to retaliation for engaging in protected activity including collective bargaining grievances, whistleblowing, and reporting race discrimination.

Covey was placed on leave after the Black officer, Yandle Moss, filed an internal complaint accusing Covey of racial discrimination. Moss later filed the lawsuit, which was settled by the port in February of this year.

The Seattle Times report stated that when Covey was reached by phone, he declined to comment other than to say he was disappointed that the outcome of the investigation had become public.

Covey had been the department’s chief since November 2016; prior to that, he served over seven-and-a-half years as deputy chief, beginning in April 2009. Current Deputy Chief Michael Villa had been serving as acting Port Police chief since Covey’s suspension.