Washington Police Deputy Fired For Sleeping On Duty

| by Sean Kelly

A King County, Washington, police deputy was terminated from his position after being caught sleeping on the job.

Sheriff John Urquhart announced the firing of Deputy Joel Anderson, who reportedly left his patrol partner without backup while he slept in a park last January, King 5 News reported.

“You can't sleep on the job. Real simple,” Urquhart said. “Doesn't matter whether you're a police officer or anyone else. Sleep on the job, chances are you're going to get fired -- that includes working for the sheriff's office.”

Anderson told Urquhart that the reason for his difficulty staying awake on the job was because of issues at home, but the termination letter detailed an apparent pattern of similar issues throughout the past decade.

“You did not just 'drift off' to sleep because you were tired on January 16. You drove into a park, closed the gate behind you, and purposely slept,” Urquhart’s termination letter read.

Anderson was reportedly caught sleeping on the job three times in 2005 and was reprimanded with five unpaid days off in 2007. A fellow deputy told investigators that he found Anderson sleeping on the job on at least four different occasions.

“If any employee sleeps on the job, then they're stealing from their employer,” Urquhart said. “In this case, the employer happened to be the taxpayers of King County."

Urquhart also stressed the danger that Anderson put his partners in when he decided to sleep while on duty.

“We have two deputies assigned to Vashon Island at any one time. So if one of them is asleep, the other one has no backup," he said. "There's no way to get to Vashon, nobody coming from White Center, or somebody else. It's just those two. So you've got to take care of your partner."

Anderson’s termination comes just a month after an Ohio police officer was suspended for sleeping on the job, according to WKBN.

Sources: King 5 News, WKBN

Photo credit: Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber via