Police officer removed from the Bomb Squad
The Bellevue Police Department announced Thursday the completion of an internal investigation. Chief Pillo has imposed discipline on an officer for using poor judgment related to driving an assigned city vehicle off-duty.
"Holding officers accountable to a high standard is not only the right thing to do but it is necessary to ensure we maintain the department's integrity and the public's trust," said Police Chief Linda Pillo.
On November 10, Officer Dion Robertson drove the unmarked assigned city vehicle to two off-duty functions. After consuming three beers over several hours, Robertson drove the city vehicle home. An internal investigation was launched after a report of a potential department policy violation was brought forward by a department employee. Upon receiving this initial report of a possible policy violation, action was taken to restrict Robertson's assigned vehicle use.
At the conclusion of the internal investigation, the chief found Robertson violated the department manual policy of judgment responsibilities (11.00.240) in driving his assigned city vehicle after consuming alcohol at the two functions. The chief removed Robertson from the bomb squad resulting in a four percent pay reduction. The investigation did not show that Robertson was impaired when driving the city vehicle.
This investigation was initiated because of a report from another Bellevue Police Department employee who was concerned that Robertson's actions may have violated department policy. The majority of internal investigations conducted by the Office of Professional Standards are generated from within the organization, and are not the result of an outside complaint.
"This kind of professional accountability is what the citizens of Bellevue deserve and is consistent with the high standards I expect from every officer," said Chief Pillo.
In 2012, Robertson, a 22-year veteran, was demoted from corporal to officer and removed from his supervisory position on the bomb squad after an incident at a Seattle Seahawks game. This resulted in the loss of his leadership responsibilities and a significant reduction in pay.
The Bellevue Police Department takes these internal investigations very seriously and issues fair yet firm discipline when the actions of our officers warrant it.
City Manager Statement
Acting City Manager Brad Miyake issued the following statement Thursday in response to the recent police department internal investigation and disciplinary action:
"The Bellevue Police Department is an outstanding organization. We have a well-run agency, we have excellent officers, and we fully expect that our department will continue to operate at the highest level of service and performance.
Let me be clear. The behaviors shown by this officer are unacceptable and are not tolerated by the city. Our officers must act with integrity and exercise good judgment - on and off duty.
Given the circumstances of the internal investigation, the discipline rendered by Chief Pillo was firm and fair. Officer Robertson will be removed from the bomb squad and given a significant reduction in pay.
This investigation did bring to light the need for the city to look very carefully and thoroughly at its policies -- specifically when it comes to driving a city vehicle. It is poor judgment to drive any city vehicle after having a drink -- even if you are below the legal limit. If our current policies do not clearly reflect that, then we plan to make the necessary changes. Let me share the actions we have already taken to date to ensure this does not happen in the future:
- We are evaluating the organization’s policy around the operation of city vehicles - on and off duty. Zero-tolerance when it comes to alcohol consumption is our threshold.
- We are in the midst of a leadership transition with the police chief's retirement in April. Part of our transition plan will include an internal assessment to evaluate the culture and to help determine the skills needed in our next chief.
Accountability for our actions and upholding the values of integrity are expectations of the public. As acting city manager, it is my responsibility to ensure those things happen. The actions we have taken to date and will take in the very near future will ensure that we are accountable and that we act with the highest level of integrity."
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