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Bellevue Police Department Demotes Two After Affair

The demotion in the Bellevue Police Department after an extra-marital affair comes a month after Chief Linda Pillo disciplined two others for boorish behavior at a Seattle Seahawks game.

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 Major John Manning and Capt. Autumn Fowler comes a month after Pillo disciplined two officers on the bomb squad for 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 was reprinted by the Times online.

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.

According to the disciplinary letters, Manning and Fowler began a relationship in January 2012, and did not disclose it, which is required by the Belleuve Police Department manual.

Another captain discovered the relationship in August and reported it to the police department and Manning's wife, which damaged the relationship between the two captains. The department has three captains and eight commanders on its staff, according to the letter.

The discipline is in response to the violation of policy, and not the relationship, according to Pillo's letters to Manning and Fowler, which were also posted to the Times.

"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.

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 letters, 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.

What do you think of the recent disciplinary actions by the Bellevue Police Department against its officers? Tell us in the comments.

Raj Johal,CFE January 09, 2013 at 02:08 PM
The department will recover from this. Bellevue Police overall is one of the finest trained law enforcement agency in the U.S. The transparency with this investigation to the public is very commendable on Chief Pillo's part. Raj Johal, CFE
JIXIE6 January 10, 2013 at 09:31 PM
That is NOT news! Commanders getting demoted is I guess but that is not what people are gossiping about! They were demoted for not reporting their relationship to their superiors not because they had an affair! Not reporting a relationship to your boss is NOT news worthy. There have been affairs and inter-level dating at EVERY place I have EVER worked! I'm not saying that makes it okay but its not News. Most everyone has past skeletons in their closet and none of us would like our indiscretions blasted all over the news for everyone to see. The issue is between their families and the Police Department only. They also have young kids that just might overhear your gossip and that is the worst. If we were all judged for the mistakes we have made in life and people started assuming our mistakes represent our "true character" then we would all be horrible nasty people with no morals or positive qualities at all. How about we look towards the amazing and wonderful things these two have done (very likely many of them were done for you and your family and friends even if you didn't know it if you live in the area) instead of labeling them as bad people with no redeeming qualities. People like to give cops a bad rap in general which is ridiculous in the first place since that is who you call when you need help. They put their lives on the line every day and sacrifice more than you will ever know (unless you are a cop) and deserve way more respect then most choose to give.

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