Bellevue Police Department Chief Linda Pillo demoted two commanding officers after it was determined that they had an extra-marital affair, according to a disciplinary report made public by the Bellevue Police Department Tuesday.
Their affair was exposed by another captain, who had recently broken up with the female officer, according to the report.
The discipline was first reported by The Seattle Times.
The disciplinary actions against former Major John Manning and former Capt. Autumn Fowler follows a month after Pillo disciplined two officers on the bomb squad after boorish behavior at a Seattle Seahawks game.
Manning and Fowler, who was his subordinate, were both demoted to lieutenant and will answer to Major Jerry Litzau, according to the police department executive order, which Patch has reprinted in PDFs attached to this story.
Fowler has worked for the Bellevue Police Department for more than 15 years and was in charge of the department's hiring and training unit and the courts and custody unit. She was supervised by Manning, who was the Major of the Administrative Services Division. Manning has worked for the Bellevue Police Department for nearly 19 years, according to the report. They were both placed on paid administrative leave between June 7 and 10.
The discipline is in response to the violation of Belleuve Police Department policy to disclose romantic relationships with other officers, and not as a result of the relationship itself, according to Pillo's letters to Manning and Fowler, which have been reprinted here.
"I also want to be clear that this discipline does not arise from the relationship itself. However, I do think at least some component of the negative ongoing staffing consequences will stem from the fallout of your failure to disclose the relationship," Pillo wrote. There was no allegation or evidence of sexual relations on the job, according to Pillo's memo.
However, the relationship appears to have damaged relationships on the Bellevue Police Department's 11-person command staff, according to statements in a report by the Washington State Patrol, which conducted the investigation at the request of Pillo.
The captain who reported the relationship had dated Fowler in the past and had been suspicious of the the relationship before confirming it in August, according to the report. In June, he called Manning while drunk and threatened the senior officer, according to the Washington State Patrol report.
That captain discovered Manning at Fowler's home in late August, and reported them to the police department and to Manning's wife, according to the Washington State Patrol report.
Fowler and the the captain who reported the affair are two of the eight captains on the department's 11-person command staff, according to the letter. Manning was one of three with the rank of major.
According to the first segment of the investigation report, which Patch has obtained via public information request, the captain who discovered their relationship had been in a three-year on-and-off again relationship with Fowler and had been suspicious that Manning and Fowler were having a relationship for months before he discovered Manning at Fowler's home late at night.
The investigation quoted Fowler as saying she felt "someone who just ruined people's lives would feel....
"I knew that the ramifications here at the Department would be even bigger than that because, you know, this is a lot of your command staff, and, um, and a lot of, um, in- -- inappropriate and unethical behavior by us," the report quoted her as saying.
According to Pillo's memos, she has not encountered any similar conduct in the department since she became chief in 2007.
The disciplinary action comes a month after two of Bellevue police officers on the bomb squad were disciplined in December after the department investigated reported unruly behavior at a Seahawks game.
Dion Robertson was a corporal demoted to officer and Andy Hanke, a police officer, was given 30 days suspension from duty without pay and was removed from the bomb squad after they reportedly taunted an on-duty Seattle police officer outside the stadium after she asked the utilities department employee to pick up a cup that one of them dropped. They were kicked out of the game after a confrontation with a fan.
A third officer, an off-duty detective who was with the group, was cleared of wrongdoing, according to the report.