Walt Monegan

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For his father, see Walter C. Monegan, Jr..

Walter Carleton "Walt" Monegan III (born May 1951) is the former Police Chief of Anchorage, Alaska, and later Commissioner of Public Safety for the state of Alaska. His dismissal in July 2008 by Alaska governor Sarah Palin drew considerable attention, particularly in the wake of Palin's selection as the Vice-Presidential nominee of the Republican Party the following month. Monegan accused Palin of not telling the truth about the reasons for his dismissal.

Early life[edit]

Walter Carleton Monegan III was born in Seattle, Washington in May 1951, the son of Elizabeth (née Clark) and Walter Carleton Monegan, Jr.. Monegan never knew his father, who died heroically in the Korean War on September 20, 1950 at age 19. The elder Monegan would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.[1][2]

Monegan grew up in the small village of Nyac, between Aniak and Bethel in rural Southwest Alaska.[3] Monegan has described himself as part Irish and part Alaska Native, with combined Tlingit and Yupik ancestry.[4] He attended Alaska Methodist University for a year, and then joined the Marine Corps in 1970.

Highlights of police career[edit]

The Anchorage Police Department hired him as a patrolman in January 1974. Monegan worked in every division of the Anchorage Police Department, including Internal Affairs, Crime Prevention, Communications, and Detectives. He also attended the Traffic Institute at Northwestern University, as well as the National Crime Prevention Institute at the University of Louisville, and he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in organizational administration from Alaska Pacific University.[3]

In February 2001, Monegan was appointed Chief of Police by Anchorage Mayor George Wuerch.[4] He served in that position until 2006. Later that year, Governor Sarah Palin appointed him Public Safety Commissioner. He held the latter position until his dismissal on July 11, 2008.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Monegan is married to Terryene Mihara. They have four adult children from previous marriages and reside in the Anchorage suburb of Chugiak. Monegan's first wife was Georgene Moldovan.[6]

Public Safety Commissioner dismissal[edit]

Governor Palin's Chief of Staff, Mike Nizich dismissed Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan on July 11, 2008 for the reason (according to Palin's spokesperson Sharon Leighow) that "the governor wanted to take DPS in a different direction" [7] Nizich then offered Monegan the job as director of the ABC Board which he turned down. Anchorage blogger Andrew Halcro broke the story that Monegan was fired due to his refusal to fire the governor's ex-brother-in-law a week later.[8] Monegan said that he had resisted persistent pressure from the Governor, her husband, and her staff, including State Attorney General Talis Colberg, to fire Palin’s ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten; Wooten was involved in a child custody battle with Palin’s sister that included an alleged death threat against Palin's father.[9][10] Monegan stated he learned an internal investigation had found all but two of the allegations to be unsubstantiated, and Wooten had been disciplined for the others three years prior.[10] He told the Palins that there was nothing he could do because the matter was closed and Trooper Wooten had already been disciplined.[11] When contacted by the press for comment, Monegan first acknowledged pressure to fire Wooten but said that he could not be certain that his own firing was connected to that issue;[10] but as the governor's story changed, he came to believe that the dispute over Wooten was a major reason for his firing.[12] Subsequent to Palin's VP pick, the McCain campaign claimed Monegan was fired for insubordination and called him a "rogue" but gave no explanation why Monegan had been offered the job of Director of the ABC Board if that were the case.

Finding of investigations[edit]

On October 10, 2008, the Alaska Legislative Council unanimously voted to release, without officially endorsing,[13] the Branchflower Report in which Stephen Branchflower found that "Governor Sarah Palin abused her power as Governor ... [and] Walt Monegan's refusal to fire Trooper Michael Wooten ... was likely a contributing factor to his termination as Commissioner of Public Safety."[14]

On 6 February 2009 the Alaska State Senate found ten Palin administration officials, together with Todd Palin, in contempt for refusing to attend hearings in the Branchflower investigation to which they had been subpoenaed. Three days later, Talis Colberg resigned his position as Attorney-General and left the State's employ.

The Associated Press reported on November 3, 2008 that an independent investigation subsequently conducted by the Alaska Personnel Board cleared Governor Palin of any abuse of power. The Personnel Board's three members were first appointed by Palin’s predecessor, and Palin reappointed one member in 2008.[15]

Anchorage mayoral campaign[edit]

In December 2008, Monegan announced his run for Mayor of Anchorage. The Monegan for Mayor campaign was launched in January 2009.[16] Monegan received 8.73% of the vote, coming in fourth.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Billington, Linda (June 22, 1991). "It's Small World for Ex-Marines Who Remember". Anchorage Daily News (Anchorage). p. F1. 
  2. ^ [1], Korean War Medal of Honor Recipients for the U.S. Army. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Chief Of Police Biography, Walt Monegan"[dead link], Anchorage Police Department.
  4. ^ a b Demer, Lisa. "Mayor taps 27-year police department veteran", Anchorage Daily News (2001-01-31).
  5. ^ Hopkins, Kyle (2008-07-12). "State's top cop, Walt Monegan, is fired". Anchorage Daily News (The McClatchy Company). Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  6. ^ Matier, Phillip and Ross, Andrew. "Official fired by Palin bears no grudge", San Francisco Chronicle (2008-09-15).
  7. ^ Hopkins, Kyle (July 12, 2008). "State's Top Cop, Walt Monegan, is Fired". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  8. ^ Halcro, Andrew (July 18, 2008). "Why Walt Monegan Got Fired". Andrew Halcro Blog. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  9. ^ Demer, Lisa (August 30, 2008). "'Troopergate' inquiry hangs over campaign: 'Troopergate' inquiry hangs over campaign". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2008-09-05. "For the record, no one ever said fire Wooten. Not the governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff. What they said directly was more along the lines of 'This isn't a person that we would want to be representing our state troopers.'" 
  10. ^ a b c Holland, Megan (July 19, 2008). "Monegan says he was pressured to fire cop". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  11. ^ Grimaldi, James V. and Kindy, Kimberly, James V. (August 31, 2008). "Long-Standing Feud in Alaska Embroils Palin". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  12. ^ Demer, Lisa (2008-08-30). "'Troopergate' inquiry hangs over campaign". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 2008-09-05. "Monegan said he believes his firing was directly related to the fact Wooten stayed on the job." 
  13. ^ Spence, Hal. "Branchflower report draws mixed reactions", Peninsula Clarion (2008-10-12): "The council voted unanimously to make the report public, but did not vote to endorse its findings.”
  14. ^ Branchflower, Stephen (2008-10-10). "Stephen Branchflower report to the Legislative Council" (PDF). State of Alaska Legislature. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  15. ^ "Palin asks state board to take over trooper probe". CNN. September 3, 2008. 
  16. ^ Hunter, Don (2008-12-18). "Walt Monegan is planning to run for mayor". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  17. ^ "2009 Anchorage City Election Results", Anchorage Daily News.

External links[edit]

Media related to Walt Monegan at Wikimedia Commons