Veteran Fairbanks police officer quits, alleges sexual harassment and retaliation

A 17-year veteran of the Fairbanks Police Department quit her job Monday after filing a lawsuit against the city alleging sexual harassment and retaliation for filing a complaint about it.

A white woman smiles into the camera wearing a uniform
Officer Alana Malloy at a Fairbanks Police Department Halloween event in 2019 (Fairbanks Police Department via Facebook)

In her complaint and letter of resignation filed Monday, Alana Malloy alleged she had “endured repeated sexual harassment and retaliation” by her supervisor and other Fairbanks Police officials.

“Fairbanks Police Department just lost one of its best detectives because of dysfunction, and the lack of any kind of accountability between the department and the mayor and City Council,” said Malloy’s attorney Jim Davis in a phone interview.

He said she was the department’s senior detective and longest-serving woman officer, but “after complaining about sexual harassment and gender discrimination, was sidelined and ostracized by all of the male officers in the department, and the mayor and the mayor’s staff.”

Chief Ron Dupee denied Malloy’s allegations. He said in a prepared statement the city released Monday afternoon that Malloy’s resignation letter contains “many gross misrepresentations, and outright falsehoods.”

“We look forward to bringing forward all of the facts, circumstances, and truths in court,” he said in the statement. 

Malloy said the harassment began just over two years ago, when her supervisor, Lieutenant Matt Soden, asked fellow detective Avery Thompson about Malloy’s sex life. The complaint said Soden told Thompson that if he and Malloy were in a relationship, it would “result in changes in the unit,” apparently in the form of one or both of them being transferred.

After Thompson told Malloy about his conversation with Soden, she met with him and complained about him asking about her sex life.

The complaint goes on to say Soden later told Malloy she must notify him when she was going to be away on weekends and who she would be with. He told her she must inform him when she and Thompson would both be unavailable for work.

Malloy said she was subjected to that and other mistreatment, including unfair discipline and gossip. All of which, the complaint said, was “because of her gender, as male colleagues were not subjected to the same scrutiny and harassment.”

“They had a relationship, but I assume Lieutenant Soden has had a relationship in his life. And I doubt if any female officers asked him, or the mayor, or the chief, or the lieutenant chief, ‘Who are you sleeping with this weekend?’” said Davis, Malloy’s attorney.

The document said when Malloy filed a complaint in June 2019 about the harassment with the city’s human resources director, she was assured it all would stop. But instead, she said she was subjected to “increasing hostility.”

“Even after asking the Human Resources Department assist, they did absolutely nothing except pay lip service to her request,” said Davis.

The 17-page complaint outlines subsequent instances of intimidation, harassment and other unfair treatment leading up to her resignation, effective Monday.

The complaint also implicates Chief Dupee, who improperly intervened in the harassment complaint and contributed to what the complaint calls the department’s overall “dysfunction.”

The complaint asks the court to grant her actual and compensatory damages, and asks the judge to require the city to pay for litigation, including lawyer fees.

Malloy’s resignation is the latest of several controversies to engulf the Fairbanks Police Department in recent years. It follows allegations of excessive force used by officers, especially when arresting Alaska Native and other people of color.

Frequent turnover in police chiefs also has roiled the department, beginning with the resignation of Chief Randall Aragon in 2017 over allegations of wrongdoing involving his private security business.

Chief Eric Jewkes, who succeeded Aragon, served until mid-2019 when Anchorage Police Lieutenant Nancy Reeder was hired. She resigned after a year on the job for what she said were personal reasons.

Reeder was followed by Dupee, who was hired in February.

Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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