City, former police chief sued

SNOHOMISH – A police officer filed a lawsuit against the city and a former police chief, alleging that he was discriminated against over a hearing impairment. Officer Corey Cook, who still works for the department, said in the suit that former Police Chief Gordon Wiborg failed to accommodate Cook’s hearing disability with proper equipment.

The lawsuit was filed to the Snohomish County Superior Court this week.

The city has yet to receive a notice of the lawsuit, City Manager Larry Bauman said Friday.

“I really can’t comment on it until I see the document,” Bauman said.

Wiborg, who was hired by Snohomish in late 2004, resigned in December 2006 while under investigation for sending romantic messages to an officer he supervised. Cook is not the officer who received those messages.

The lawsuit alleges Wiborg denied Cook for what is described in the suit as a promotion to become a motorcycle officer.

The suit goes on to say Wiborg “deliberately denied him the ability to advance in the department” based on the disability.

The type of hearing-related disability from which Cook suffers is not explained in the suit.

Wiborg suspended Cook and made him take an examination to prove his eligibility for duty, the lawsuit alleges. Cook seeks relief for financial and emotional damages in the lawsuit.

Cook now works as a motorcycle officer in Snohomish, Bauman said. The position became available for Cook in January when his predecessor resigned.

A switch from a patrol officer to a motorcycle officer is not considered a promotion, Bauman said.

Meanwhile, the city decided on June 5 to offer the police chief job to John Turner, a former police chief of Mountlake Terrace and Marysville. Turner has agreed to keep the job for the next three years.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

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