Bellevue officer kicked off bomb squad as punishment
A Bellevue police officer who once supervised the department’s bomb squad has been removed from the squad after an internal investigation determined he drove a city vehicle after consuming alcohol while off-duty.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Bellevue police officer who once supervised the department’s bomb squad before being demoted because of his role in a drunken incident at a 2012 Seahawks game has been removed from the squad after an internal investigation determined he drove a city vehicle after consuming alcohol while off-duty.
Officer Dion Robertson, 49, drove the unmarked vehicle to two off-duty functions in November, according to the Bellevue Police Department. Then, after consuming three beers over several hours, he drove the vehicle home.
An investigation was launched after a department employee reported a potential policy violation, according to a news release Thursday. Though the investigation didn’t show Robertson was impaired while driving, he violated policy in driving his assigned vehicle after consuming alcohol.
Robertson, who has been with the department for 24 years, was removed from the bomb squad, resulting in a 4 percent pay reduction.
“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,” Police Chief Linda Pillo said in the news release.
The city will evaluate its policies to make it very clear that employees should not drive a city vehicle after drinking, even if they are below the legal limit, Acting City Manager Brad Miyake said in a statement Thursday. He called Robertson’s punishment “firm and fair.”
Robertson was demoted in 2012 from corporal to officer and removed from his supervisory position on the bomb squad for his drunken behavior at a Seahawks game, when he and another off-duty Bellevue officer confronted a female Seattle police officer and also got into a profanity-laced altercation with a fan and his family.
Robertson and Officer Andrew Hanke were thrown out of CenturyLink Field during the game. Afterward, Hanke drove while under the influence of alcohol.
Hanke, a seven-year veteran, was suspended for 30 days without pay. He resigned last month after being charged with DUI last November.
After the 2012 investigation, Pillo said, “I am convinced that these officers have learned a very hard lesson, and their actions in the future will always meet the high standards of behavior that the Bellevue community rightfully demands of their police.”
Pillo said the punishments resulted in “significant” annual loss of pay for the two officers. Robertson made $108,985 for the fiscal year ending in June 2011, according to state records. His annual salary in 2013 is listed as $104,564.
After the 2012 investigation, Robertson issued a statement apologizing for his “inexcusable behavior”:
“While I cannot change the past, I can let you know I have taken complete responsibility and taken the positive life changes to make sure it never happens again.”
Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530 or firstname.lastname@example.org