Former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Justin Dobler alleges his firing was the result of retaliation

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For nearly two years, KMBC 9 Investigates has been digging into allegations of sexual harassment within the ranks of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Now, there is a new turn.A male trooper says he was fired, retaliated against after a Facebook post supporting the women who came forward.Justin Dobler joined the Kansas Highway Patrol in 2017. And in 2020, when six women filed a lawsuit against KHP Col. Herman Jones alleging harassment, Dobler posted a message of support on Facebook. And that’s when he says things changed.”It was just the intimidation of we know what you’re doing and saying, you better start going our way, be in our canoe or we’re going to take care of you,” Dobler said.Dobler believes he was retaliated against for supporting the women’s claims. An attorney for the troopers’ association says Dobler’s superiors used a deadly pursuit in March 2021 to tarnish his reputation within the highway patrol. “This case was not investigated at all except at the troop level by his lieutenant and captain, both of which in their initial review found that he had done nothing wrong,” said Sean McCauley, an attorney for the Kansas State Troopers Association.In July 2021, Dobler was fired from the KHP.KMBC 9 Investigates got the transcript from the civil service board hearing, where Dobler claimed his firing was the result of retaliation.KHP Lt. Bryce Whelpley backing those claims, testifying he was forced to change his review of Dobler’s involvement in that deadly pursuit.”Captain Witham made me write this letter….I authored it as he made me write it. What am I supposed to do when my job is threatened?”When on the stand, Witham stated the review was changed after he underwent new training. Witham said as part of the new review, he found Dobler made “numerous violations” which led to his termination.Immediately after testifying at Dobler’s hearing, Whelpley found out his future with the KHP is uncertain as well.”Within 24 hours of that testimony he was placed on administrative leave and put under investigation for his testimony. That is troubling,” McCauley said.Dobler said he has nothing but respect for Whelpley for speaking his truth no matter the consequences.”My heart hurts, my heart aches, my heart is still with the good people of the highway patrol because there’s a lot of good ones there. Unfortunately, there’s a select few that are ruining it,” Dobler said.Whelpley said he was told not to speak to anyone about his testimony. KMBC asked the Kansas Highway Patrol for an interview and did not hear back.

For nearly two years, KMBC 9 Investigates has been digging into allegations of sexual harassment within the ranks of the Kansas Highway Patrol. Now, there is a new turn.

A male trooper says he was fired, retaliated against after a Facebook post supporting the women who came forward.

Justin Dobler joined the Kansas Highway Patrol in 2017. And in 2020, when six women filed a lawsuit against KHP Col. Herman Jones alleging harassment, Dobler posted a message of support on Facebook. And that’s when he says things changed.

“It was just the intimidation of we know what you’re doing and saying, you better start going our way, be in our canoe or we’re going to take care of you,” Dobler said.

Dobler believes he was retaliated against for supporting the women’s claims. An attorney for the troopers’ association says Dobler’s superiors used a deadly pursuit in March 2021 to tarnish his reputation within the highway patrol.

“This case was not investigated at all except at the troop level by his lieutenant and captain, both of which in their initial review found that he had done nothing wrong,” said Sean McCauley, an attorney for the Kansas State Troopers Association.

In July 2021, Dobler was fired from the KHP.

KMBC 9 Investigates got the transcript from the civil service board hearing, where Dobler claimed his firing was the result of retaliation.

KHP Lt. Bryce Whelpley backing those claims, testifying he was forced to change his review of Dobler’s involvement in that deadly pursuit.

“Captain Witham made me write this letter….I authored it as he made me write it. What am I supposed to do when my job is threatened?”

When on the stand, Witham stated the review was changed after he underwent new training. Witham said as part of the new review, he found Dobler made “numerous violations” which led to his termination.

Immediately after testifying at Dobler’s hearing, Whelpley found out his future with the KHP is uncertain as well.

“Within 24 hours of that testimony he was placed on administrative leave and put under investigation for his testimony. That is troubling,” McCauley said.

Dobler said he has nothing but respect for Whelpley for speaking his truth no matter the consequences.

“My heart hurts, my heart aches, my heart is still with the good people of the highway patrol because there’s a lot of good ones there. Unfortunately, there’s a select few that are ruining it,” Dobler said.

Whelpley said he was told not to speak to anyone about his testimony. KMBC asked the Kansas Highway Patrol for an interview and did not hear back.



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