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Hendrickson turns over missing police records

A Bainbridge Island woman who has led a high-profile quest to reform the Bainbridge Police Department apparently took home dozens of personnel files from the police department that were marked for destruction.

According to a city memorandum made public April 11, Kim Hendrickson allegedly admitted taking home civil service files from the police department that had been stored in a Civil Service Commission filing cabinet at the police department.

Hendrickson, the founder of Islanders for Collaborative Policing, was at one time the secretary/chief examiner for the Civil Service Commission, the independent body that reviews potential hires for the police department. She was fired in August 2011.

In a memo written by Bainbridge Island Chief Examiner Pro Tem Kate Brown, dated March 29, Hendrickson approached Brown at the end of a commission meeting held to conduct oral interviews for entry level police officers on March 28. Hendrickson was a member of the interview panel, and after everyone left the room, told Brown she had a "gift" for her.

Hendrickson then said she had found additional civil service files at her home, and that she had taken them home from the police department and put them in her garage and forgot about them.

The files had been in a filing cabinet and marked "destroy in two years."

"She mentioned that when she found them, she didn't want to deal with Ms. Bauer [Bainbridge's former city manager]," Brown said in the memo.

Brown said that Hendrickson went out to her car and brought in a pink, plastic storage container. Inside were applications for deputy chief, 42 files marked with different names, and applications and letters from six other individuals.

Missing police files were at the center of controversy last November after city officials said some police files were missing, including the file for Officer Jeff Benkert, who was involved in the 2010 fatal police shooting of Douglas Ostling.

At the time, Hendrickson said she wasn't to blame for any missing files from the officers involved in the Ostling shooting, which is now the subject of a federal lawsuit.

She also said she seldom visited the Civic Service Commission files and instead kept active files at her home office.

Bauer criticized Hendrickson for not properly safeguarding files, and said that some files were missing after Hendrickson started as a contractor for the city in 2009. Bauer also said Hendrickson had lost her keys to the front door of the police station and didn't report it for months.

Hendrickson did not return a call for comment Wednesday night.

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