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It’s time for Bellevue Police chief to go after latest black eye

Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo is facing new criticisms for a lawsuit brought by a female officer who claims she was forced to endure sexual comments by a training supervisor and then retaliated against for speaking out. (City of Bellevue image)

The Bellevue Police Department is in the news again for all the wrong reasons. And KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don say it’s time for Chief Linda Pillo to go.

“It seems like Chief Linda Pillo seems to be the problem here and I’m just wondering why the folks over in Bellevue don’t get upset about this,” says Don O’Neill in the wake of the latest black eye for the beleaguered department.

In the most recent development, A Bellevue police officer is suing the department saying her training supervisor created a hostile workplace by speaking openly about his sexual experiences and talking about certain body parts.

Officer Jan Auclair Trizuto also claims the officer sent her sexually suggestive text messages, which she didn’t report because she feared retaliation.

Officer Trizuoto says her supervisor intimidated her after she discussed the fellow officer’s inappropriate discussions about sexual exploits.

“You would think that a department with a female chief would go out of its way to set up a culture that would be accommodating and friendly to female officers,” says Ron Upshaw. “I’m saying you would be hyperaware if there’s this sexual harrassment going on and if you’re a female chief you would pull this training officer in right away and go ‘that’s not how we do it in this department.'”

The department is refusing any comment, saying it doesn’t discuss pending litigation. But Ron and Don say the bigger problem is the department never says anything.

Chief Pillo has been conspicuously silent or absent amidst a number of high profile embarrassments in the past year, including the demotion of two members of the command staff for extramarital affairs, and the disciplining of two officers for their drunken behavior before, during and after they were tossed out of a Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field.

“And where the hell is Sky Metawala?” asks Don in reference to the high profile disappearance of the little boy missing since November 2011, after his mother reported the toddler disappeared after she left him in an unlocked car to get gas for her vehicle. They later determined there was nothing wrong with the car.

“It’s been one year and four months and you’d think the Bellevue Police Department would consistently want to pick up the phone, call the media and continue to drive tips so we can figure out where that little boy is, and we never hear from the Bellevue Police Department on this,” says Don.

Ron and Don are also critical of the department’s handling of the investigation into the beating of J.D. Aylward, who suffered injuries so severe part of his skull had to be removed. The department has refused to comment, but sources have said police are working on the theory he simply fell.

It’s a sharp contrast to other Puget Sound area law enforcement agencies, which regularly speak to the media even when it’s in response to negative stories about their department.

“How many stories do you need before you make a change?” Don asks. “I just think they need a new chief over there. And the folks over there in Bellevue, it’s time they get upset about this. Chief Linda Pilla, you should resign. Just resign. You’re a horrible chief. You’re horrible. You’re absolutely horrible. You’re terrible.”

Not everyone agrees. The city manager, city council, and mayor have all voiced support for the chief and the department. But Ron an Don say they’ve been noticeably quiet as well, and it’s time for them to stand up and explain how things have gotten so bad with the department.

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