CHESTER -- The Chester City Council voted Monday night to uphold the police chief's decision to fire a veteran police officer who allegedly stuck a Taser to the behind of a jailer last month.
Sgt. Wanda Alexander, 40, was fired Sept. 12 after an incident that happened at the Chester County Detention Center three days earlier, according to a personnel action form signed by Chester Police Chief Mike Brown.
The document, obtained Monday by The Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request, states that on Sept. 9, Alexander was in the booking area of the county jail when she "pulled her Taser and test fired it, then she stuck it to the left buttock of detention officer Robert Bryan."
Bryan could not be reached for comment Monday. Sheriff Robby Benson said that Bryan did not have to receive medical treatment or miss work because of the incident.
When reached by phone Monday afternoon, Alexander said she had been wrongfully terminated and wasn't given a chance to explain to supervisors what she said was an accident.
"It was handled wrong from the get-go," she said.
Alexander said she had been having problems with her Taser, a weapon that releases 50,000 volts of electricity and is used by police to subdue combative people in dangerous situations. A training officer recommended that she test-fire the weapon every day to make sure it was working properly, she said.
"I don't test it every day because I'm not Taser-happy," she said. "I'm not a person that just gets a kick out shooting people with a Taser."
While at the jail to meet with a fellow officer on Sept. 9, Alexander said she noticed a Taser and was reminded to test hers. The stunning prongs that shoot from the gun when it's fired had been removed from the weapon during the test fire, she said. Basically, she said, she was sitting in a chair shooting a stun gun.
She denied touching the weapon to Bryan's backside, although she said he was standing next to her.
"I was sitting in a chair, and I dry-fired it, and then a girl started talking to me," she said. "And the next thing I know, he said that he had been hit."
She said Bryan then turned and looked at her.
"'You Tased me,'" she recalled him saying. "And I said, 'No, I didn't.' He said, 'Yes, you did.'"
Alexander said Bryan never even flinched.
"It's not like he fell," she said. "Everybody that I have seen hit with them, actually falls."
Alexander claims she followed Bryan outside and asked him if he was serious. When he told her he was, she said she apologized and said it was an accident.
She still maintains that position.
"It was an accident," she said. "I did have my Taser out. And if he was Tased -- which I'm not 100 percent sure that he was Tased -- if he was Tased, it was an accident."
Brown said he received a written complaint from Bryan about the incident. He said Chester officers who carry X-26 Tasers are trained and certified to use the weapons.
Tasers allow police to avoid using guns. The shock is designed to briefly immobilize a person.
Brown said the department's Taser policy falls under use of force guidelines. According to those rules, he said any time an officer uses a Taser on an individual, that incident must be detailed in a use of force form.
He said Alexander did not file such form.
Brown said Alexander was off duty in the days after the incident, and he talked to her about the complaint when she returned. Brown maintained Alexander had an opportunity to explain herself and was treated fairly.
"She was given a chance to tell her side of the story," he said.
Alexander said she filed a grievance with the city about her firing because she felt she was wrongfully terminated. She said she had 10 years until she was eligible for retirement.
"Was it something to be fired for? No," she said. "I feel like I'm innocent, and I'm not going to drop it. I mean, accidents happen."
The city's grievance committee, however, disagreed and supported the chief's decision. And Monday night, the City Council voted 8-1 to accept the committee's report.
Councilman Odell Williams cast the lone opposing vote, saying during the meeting that he wanted to see the evidence presented against Alexander.
Alexander said she was offered the chance to resign but declined.
"I told him I'm not resigning because I don't feel I've done anything wrong," she said. "I'm a good officer. I know I'm a good officer. And I know I make a difference."
Alexander served on the Chester Police Department twice, from 1996 to 1999 and from 2002 until last month. In between her stints with the department, she worked for the Chester County Sheriff's Office.
Her personnel file with the city includes two written reprimands, one in 1999 for insubordination and another last year for working as a crossing guard at Chester Middle School, which is outside city limits, while on the clock. In both cases, she received a one-day suspension.