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January 30, 2015

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Highway Patrol sergeant caught ‘sexting’ now battles for his job

Unlike Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Nevada Highway Patrol sergeant in Las Vegas didn’t get a second chance after he was caught “sexting” on the job.

Now, a court fight is looming over the firing of the officer, who was terminated for conduct including sexting with a co-worker while on duty in an NHP office.

Kenneth Twiddy was fired effective Feb. 8 after three female NHP personnel accused him of sexual harassment or of being discourteous toward them.

Among the allegations were that he was “viewing or distributing pornographic material at the premises of the workplace” and participated in “sexual conduct on the premises of the workplace.”

Records in Twiddy’s firing show it was related mainly to consensual “sexting” between him and a female dispatcher who was subordinate to him, but was not under his direct command.

Investigators said that on several occasions in 2008 and 2009, he used a cellphone to send a number of texts containing sexual references and/or photos to the dispatcher.

“Several of these text messages included photographs of Twiddy’s naked and erect penis, taken by him on the camera in his cellphone, and taken in and transmitted from Twiddy’s workplace, a restroom in the NHP Southern Command headquarters, all while Twiddy was on duty,” a state hearing officer wrote in a report on Twiddy’s firing.

The dispatcher reciprocated with cellphone photos of “her own naked private parts”   — but later filed a sexual harassment claim against Twiddy, records show.

Nevada Highway Patrol officials declined to comment on the case this week, saying it was a personnel issue. But someone familiar with the incidents told the Las Vegas Sun and its sister publication VEGAS INC that the dispatcher’s participation occurred while she was off duty and that she wasn’t fired.

State records show Twiddy, who joined the Highway Patrol as a cadet in 1997, had an exemplary record until October 2009.

That’s when investigations began into the allegations of sexting with the dispatcher, that he was rude to a female officer and that a second female officer was sexually harassed when Twiddy told an employee that this officer “was engaging in sexual congress with several other members of the department.”

“Twiddy admits the conversation and its content, but contends that he was divulging the information ‘for the good’ ” of this second female officer, the record in the case says.

As for his exemplary record before the complaints in 2009, hearing officer Richard Reed wrote in his decision that this record is not strong enough “to erase the image of an NHP sergeant going into a restroom at his workplace, arousing himself, taking pictures of his erect penis with his cellphone camera and transmitting them to a female employee of the NHP who was a subordinate, or at least of inferior rank.”

A Las Vegas attorney for Twiddy, Adam Levine, said Wednesday he plans to file in court a petition for judicial review of the hearing officer’s decision upholding Twiddy’s firing.

He said the hearing officer in his ruling failed to point out that Twiddy’s conduct occurred while Twiddy was on lunch break — although he acknowledged NHP officers on lunch break are technically on duty.

“It did not involve a state computer or a state phone,” Levine said.

Levine stressed the sexting was consensual and it only became an employment issue after Twiddy and the dispatcher had a falling out.

“She sent photos of herself and asked him to respond,” Levine said.

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  1. Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but I just don't see an offense that warrants being fired over.

  2. "boftx" I see the offense clearly... he was on duty at the time... and should have been patrolling the highways making them safer for all..... not sexting while earning a living with taxpayers dollars paying the bill.

    Be kind a like a pilot flying an aircraft into a mountain because he was Sexting when he should a been flying the plane... but guess that would be okay with you huh?

    I say fire the man. If he was caught once, how many times has he done it while on Duty and not been caught?

  3. I didn't say he shouldn't be disciplined, but the facts as reported in the story don't rise to the standard for termination, in my opinion.

    It sounds like this guy is a desk jockey, so I view it differently than if he was a patrol officer. I also have a hard time giving much credence to the "harassment" angle.

    If he was on patrol and using his badge to obtain sexual favors (or if he were a member of Metro) I might not be so lenient.

  4. Perhaps the legislature should rethink then repeal the cop exemption in that new anti-cell phone law. After all, they should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us, not lower.

    "I'm never too busy that I can't stop to enjoy someone else's suffering." -- the late George Carlin in "White Guys Who Shave Their Heads"

  5. I'd hate to get pulled over by this jerk(er)...

    People need to remember that in the workplace, becoming "overly friendly" with a co-worker, and using anything that could be construed as harassment of ANY KIND should be avoided like the plague.
    People can be "friends" one day, have a tiff and be enemies the next, and this is why harassment claims are filed ALL THE TIME. What seems innocent enough to both parties on Monday turns into a harassment claim by Friday.... or next week, or next month; people will "remember" all KINDS of things when they're looking to file a claim.

  6. The dispatcher reciprocated with cellphone photos of "her own naked private parts" -- but later filed a sexual harassment claim against Twiddy, records show.

    She needs to be disciplined or fired also. Fair is fair.

    I agree with gmag39 and orca17.

  7. How embarrassing! Would they put him back at the same office or department that he was at before, if he gets his job back? This is a tuff call on to fire him, or give a very stiff punishment so that it would teach others not to do what he did. 12 years on the job and no problems is strong. If he was receiving return texts with similiar texts than I would lean towards punishment short of firing. However, if it was solely him, then termination would be appropriate.

  8. Maybe he should end up with just a ticket for indecent exposure in a public place. What ever happened to just giving tickets, it pays the government's bills don't it?

  9. He needs to be registered as a sex offender just like any of us would have been if we did the same thing. But of course we know that will never happen...