Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo says she expects it will take a month to complete an internal investigation into allegations of hooliganism by a trio of apparently intoxicated off-duty Bellevue officers accused of taunting and bullying a Seattle police officer and getting booted out of a Seahawks football game on Sept. 16.
Pillo on Monday told Bellevue Mayor Conrad Lee and several members of the City Council that the officers involved have rights, and that the department’s Office of Professional Standards will conduct “thorough and fair” investigation into the incident.
But Pillo also said that when it comes time, she would “hold the officers accountable” and impose discipline that she hopes will restore the public trust in the department. At the same time, she hopes to “provide an avenue of professional improvement” for the officers involved.
The officers’ names have not been released by the department.
The chief said the reputation of the 219-member police department has suffered publicly since The Seattle Times first reported that a trio of off-duty officers surrounded a uniformed Seattle Police officer who had confronted them for littering outside CenturyLink Field just before the game against the Cowboys.
The officers — two men and a woman — along with another woman, reportedly used vulgar language, taunted the officer and sources report that at least one of them flashed a badge. Another Seattle police officer was concerned enough to call for supervisors and additional officers to respond to the scene.
According to the Seattle police, the supervisors were also subjected to taunts and foul language.
The group was allowed to leave and continue into the stadium, where one witness said they repeatedly dropped “F-bombs” in front of his wife and 12-year-old son. When asked to tone it down, the witness said one of the men became belligerent and called him vulgar names in front of his son.
The four were kicked out the stadium, and the witness said the female officer told him that he should stay out of Bellevue.
Chief Pillo said the incident has undermined public confidence in the department and damaged its relationship with Seattle police. After the incident, Pillo called the female Seattle officer and apologized.
“The good work of our men and women on-duty have been overshadowed” by the alleged off-duty antics of the officers at the Seahawks game. “These incidents have been embarrassing and disheartening.”