Fairbanks police officer resigns alleging hostile work environment

Another Fairbanks police detective has resigned, complaining of a hostile work environment. Detective Avery Thompson was put on leave this spring and then demoted after he said he supported his partner Alana Malloy’s sexual harassment claims.

A white man with a small beard in a police uniform
Detective Avery Thompson in 2012 (Fairbanks Police Department photo via Facebook)

RELATED: Veteran Fairbanks police officer quits, alleges sexual harassment and retaliation

Avery Thompson worked for the Fairbanks Police Department for 16 years. When he started dating another detective in the department, Malloy, she claimed she was being treated differently than her male peers. She complained to the city’s Human Resources Department and eventually, to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Office.

Thompson supported his girlfriend’s complaints with testimony of his own. After that, he said, he started having trouble at the workplace.

“Alana Malloy files an EEO complaint in November 2020, the chief of staff and the Director of HR human resources places me under internal investigation to reveal the contents of her EEO complaint,” he said.

Thompson said that since January, he has been excluded from investigations, training, and interagency work with Alaska State Troopers and other local police agencies.

“In January, the now Chief of Police (Ron Dupee) directs my supervisor to deny my personal leave. I grieve that. By grieving that, the mayor (Jim Matherly) puts me under investigation for being untruthful,” he said.

He was put on administrative leave in March and told not to identify himself as a City of Fairbanks police detective.

But his union representative told the city that was a violation of his employee contract, so, Thompson said, the city brought him back to work — but also cut his pay and changed his duties, moving him down the street to City Hall.

“They escorted me through the basement, to a completely isolated work area, and gave me a filing cabinet as a desk. I can see the police department through the windows,” Thompson said.

A white man in a suit speaks into a microphone
Rep. Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage, responds to a question from one of his colleagues in a House Resources Committee meeting, Feb, 10, 2020. Kopp chairs the House Rules Committee, which introduced a bill on March 4, 2020, that would change the formula used to pay for PFDs (Skip Gray/KTOO)

The city hired Chuck Kopp to conduct investigations into officers at FPD. Kopp is a former Chief of Police in Kenai where he was later accused of sexual harassment. He briefly served as public safety commissioner under Gov. Sarah Palin, and served in the legislature.

“The mayor recommended I be demoted to a police officer, 30 days of suspension, and six months of probation. However, that’s illogical punishment. Because if I am a liar, and I’m going to be demoted, I can’t be a lying detective but I can be a lying patrol officer? That doesn’t make any sense. Because if you are a liar, you can’t be a cop. No matter what your role is,” Thompson said.

Thompson said his reputation and dignity have had enough and he decided to quit. He has legal representation from the Northern Justice Project, a private civil rights law firm. Attorney Jim Davis said Thompson may file a lawsuit.

“How much money is the City of Fairbanks going to spend defending Avery Thompson’s case, and Alana Malloy’s case, and who knows who else’s case?” said Thompson.

The City of Fairbanks has been reluctant to comment, either from the mayor’s office or the Police Department. Chief Ron Dupee released this statement on Tuesday:

“FPD is committed to holding our officers responsible; the public deserves this, our officers deserve this, as does our entire department. When complaints against officers are made or we become aware of possible misconduct, it is our duty to investigate in order to either clear the officer or, if the claims are substantiated, hold that officer accountable. I can confirm that Mr. Thompson did resign while investigations into his conduct were taking place.”

Thompson said he disagrees with that part of the statement — he waited until all investigations were complete before he resigned, he said.

Chief Dupee said he cannot comment on matters that might end up in litigation, but finished his statement Tuesday by saying this:

“Finally, I find it greatly disappointing that Mr. Thompson is attempting to undermine the public’s trust in Fairbanks Police Department. Our officers are doing an incredibly difficult job and Fairbanks has every reason to be proud of their police department.”