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Dori’s got a few questions for Bellevue police chief about booze and cops

KIRO Radio's Dori Monson has some questions for Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo. She was not available for an appearance on his show Friday but says she will appear in two weeks. (KIRO Radio/file)

You know the history of issues with the Bellevue Police Department. There’s been some sexual improprieties. There was the notorious incident a year-and-a-half ago where two Bellevue cops went to a Seahawks game and were so drunk they had to be kicked out of the stadium.

One of those Bellevue police officers who was drunk at the Seahawks game, not only was he drunk at the game but then he drove home blackout drunk, by his own admission.
And there were reports of another drunk-driving incident involving this officer, Andrew Hanke. He ended up resigning from the Bellevue PD.

The other officer in that Seahawks incident, Dion Robertson, he is back in the news now because it’s been revealed that Robertson has been disciplined for driving a bomb squad truck to a pub and then to another officer’s house after drinking.

I’ve told you why I have such passion about his issue. It’s because I am a great defender of good cops. I think oftentimes, the media will engage in witch hunts against good cops for politically-correct reasons, but the only way I have any credibility when I defend cops as often as I do is if I will call out cops who engage in bad behavior.

So we wanted to talk with Chief Pillo about this. But she again today has declined our invitation.

She did have a group media availability on Thursday where she talked about the incident. And I had some questions about her statements.

“Officer Dion Robertson attended two different social events while driving his assigned vehicle,” said Pillo at the briefing. “Although Officer Robertson was not impaired while driving. He exercised poor judgment by consuming three beers over several hours.”

How do you know he wasn’t impaired? How do you know it was only three beers?

He says he drank two beers at this restaurant event and then he went to fellow cop’s house where he drank half a beer.

I don’t believe that because this guy sounds like he has a drinking problem, and one of the hallmarks of a drinking problem is you don’t leave anything in the can, bottle or glass. She also talked about the penalty for Officer Robertson.

“Officer Robertson’s decisions that evening are unacceptable to me and a clear violation of judgment. I’ve removed him from his specialty assignment on the Bomb Unit which I believe is the right thing to do and necessary to maintain the department’s integrity and the public’s trust,” said Pillo.

Your department doesn’t have the public’s trust, chief. You have cops who are having sex. You have cops who are so drunk they get thrown out of CenturyLink Field. You have those cops who after they get kicked out for public drunkenness who drunk drive again and have to resign. Then the other one drinks and drives a department vehicle.

So how are you punishing this cop?

“During his first incident, if you remember he was demoted and he was also removed from a leadership role in the Bomb Unit. He’s now removed from the specialty assignment that he has which also includes a permanent loss of pay,” said Pillo.

So he’s going from $109,000 a year to $104,564. He’s taken a $4,000 pay cut because he couldn’t avoid drinking and driving a department vehicle after being publicly drunk before.

How do you justify that chief?

“On duty, he’s always been a very good officer until these two incidents arose this past year,” said Pillo at the briefing. “The incidents have been off-duty related in the past.”

Aren’t you representing the department 24/7 when you’re a cop? Aren’t you always on call?

I’m not saying cops should never be allowed to drink. But I don’t think they should drink and drive department vehicles after they’ve been kicked out of a stadium for public drunkenness in the past.

So how are you coming down on him chief?

“He’s on very thin ice and if he continues having any type of behavior of this nature, it certainly can lead to termination,” said Pillo.

Wasn’t he on thin ice after the Seahawks incident? Wasn’t he told that if he had anymore incidents then that he was on thin ice and it could result in termination?

You know what this is like, those parents who are completely ineffectual at parenting, and they keep threatening their kids with threats that they never want to follow through with. Those are the worst kind of parents. They’re more concerned with being the kid’s buddy, that’s what the chief sounds like.

Here’s why I think we need to be more vigilant with cops. They have the power of deadly force every single time we encounter them, and if cops don’t have control over their personal life, how can we trust them to have the power of deadly control over our lives.

The Bellevue Police Department says Chief Linda Pillo will appear on The Dori Monson Show in two weeks.

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