City, Police Officer Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit For $225,000

ALBANY, OR – A whistleblower lawsuit filed by a police officer against the city of Albany has been settled out of court for $225,000 and will be dismissed.

Officer Steve Corder filed the complaint in Linn County Circuit Court in 2012, claiming that he was wrongfully passed over for promotions because he repeatedly tried to get the Albany Police Department to address a backlog of uninvestigated sex crimes.

As part of the resolution, Corder and his attorney will be paid $225,000 and Corder will dismiss his lawsuit against the city.

According to a press release issued Monday morning by the city, Albany officials continue to deny the validly of the claims in the lawsuit. But the press release added: “Both parties are glad to put this matter behind them, which will allow them both to move forward without further distraction.”

Corder plans to continue his service with the Albany Police Department. He is working in the patrol division.

The city’s insurance carrier negotiated this settlement amount and will be paying the settlement.

Even as the lawsuit progressed through the courts system, Corder continued to investigate criminal cases and make arrests for the Albany Police Department.

The case was set for a seven day jury trial in late May and June.

The judgment document, which was filed last week, noted that the dismissal came without costs or attorney fees to either party.

Corder’s complaint charged that the statute of limitations had expired or was about to expire on uninvestigated cases, meaning that the perpetrators of serious sex crimes could not be charged. His lawsuit alleged that mismanagement of the department had created a danger to public safety.

Corder joined the Albany Police Department in 1993.

He had previously served in the U.S. Army for five years.

He also had served as a cadet in Douglas County, a reserve deputy with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office based in Mill City. He was assigned to the Valley Interagency Narcotics Team before joining the Albany department where he rose quickly up the ranks from police officer to corporal, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant and captain.

In 2002, Corder, then 38, was promoted to assistant police chief under former Chief Joe Simon.

At the time, Simon said of Corder, “”He’s highly intelligent, one of the most energetic people I’ve ever met, has high standards, has vision, and he has creative and good ideas for improving the department. He will be particularly responsive to the community’s needs.”

Simon resigned in 2005, months after the city lost a lawsuit filed by another officer.

Simon had been given a vote of no confidence from the Police Association’s members, as the union felt that problems within the department were being ignored. Some of the association’s complaints concerned Corder.

Less than a week after Simon left, Corder asked to be reassigned to patrol.

Former Albany policeman Ryon McHuron also has a 2013 lawsuit against the city and former police Chief Ed Boyd that is scheduled for an eight-day trial in January. That trial initially was scheduled for five days in July.

McHuron is seeking $500,000, and claims he was the focus of unauthorized internal investigations, harassed (including being touched in a sexual manner), threatened and undermined by co-workers. He was fired in July 2013, after 14 years on the job.

From The Albany Democrat-Herald