Former Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson fired from Metro Transit Police
The Metro Transit Police Department has fired disgraced former Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson after a review determined he “committed workplace misconduct” when he got in a drunken-driving crash in 2021 with a firearm in the vehicle.
Hutchinson was restored to his position as a Metro Transit Police sergeant when his term as sheriff expired in January. His reinstatement was due to a Minnesota law that lets public employees return to their former position at the conclusion of taking a leave of absence for an elected office.
The Metropolitan Council launched an investigation shortly after Hutchinson returned, and he was placed on administrative leave in the meantime.
“After Mr. Hutchinson’s reinstatement, a formal complaint was filed, and the Met Council did a full investigation into the allegations,” Met Council spokeswoman Terri Dresen said in a statement. “Based on the results of the investigation, Mr. Hutchinson has been discharged and is no longer an employee of the Metro Transit Police Department.”
The investigation’s findings were finalized on March 15, and documents show Hutchinson did not attend a due process hearing two days later.
In a March 17 letter, Metro Transit Police Chief Ernest Morales III wrote to Hutchinson, “Your behavior demonstrated poor judgment and reflected poorly on all of us in the department. Termination is, therefore, the appropriate sanction.”
Hutchinson waived his right to challenge the firing on Wednesday.
As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Hutchinson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI in December of 2021 after he crashed a Hennepin County vehicle on Interstate 94 while heading back from the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Winter Conference in Alexandria. A judge sentenced him to two years of probation.
Following his conviction, Hutchinson announced he would not run for reelection but declined to resign as sheriff, despite several calls from state and local officials to do so. He opted to take a health-related leave of absence instead.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported he collected more than $100,000 from Hennepin County during his 10-month leave as sheriff.
Dawanna Witt was sworn in as Hennepin County’s full-time sheriff on Jan. 2.
In November, the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training suspended Hutchinson’s peace officer license for 30 days. The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners decided he would not be paid during that suspension.
The full suspension was 180 days, but 150 days of that term was stayed for three years.
A report released last month following a vote by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to censure Hutchinson also revealed the former sheriff harassed and bullied staff members in his department.