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Bellevue Police Chief Mylett
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‘It was a tough decision’: Bellevue police chief explains decision to leave

A demonstrator wields a megaphone next to Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett as they converse during a 2020 protest. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett announced last week that he would be leaving the department for a new job heading up Akron, Ohio’s police force. As for why he ultimately decided it was time for a change, he spoke to KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show to explain his reasoning.

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Mylett has led the Bellevue Police Department since 2015. Last September, it was rumored that he might leave Bellevue for a job as chief in Thornton, Colorado, where he was named a finalist after the retirement of the city’s previous police chief, Randy Nelson. At the time, it was thought that his daughter living near Thornton was part of what was driving the potential move.

Despite heading to Akron instead, the needs of his family still figure in heavily.

“It had a lot of the things that my wife and I were looking for,” he explained. “First and foremost is the ability for my children to move close to us and have the ability to have a good quality of life, of course with my children come grandchildren — that’s really the main reason behind all of this.”

Mylett’s departure also comes during a time of considerable political unrest in the Puget Sound region for law enforcement, where cities like Seattle have seen officers leave for other departments in droves.

And while it has certainly made things difficult for Mylett, he says it wasn’t a factor in his decision.

Chief Steve Mylett describes talking with protesters

“I’m not going say that it hasn’t impacted me over the last year,” he noted. “But it’s not what’s leading me to leave at all.”

On his way out, Mylett urges Bellevue residents to continue lending support to officers, expressing a measure of regret that he won’t be around to help guide the department through whatever comes next.

“I wish I was staying to address and tackle some of the tough issues that are coming at us,” he said. “Our officers across the state and certainly in our region, they need the support of their communities like we have in Bellevue in order for them to be successful in doing their jobs to serve and protect.”

Bellevue city leaders will announce plans to appoint an interim chief soon. After that, the city will begin a nationwide search for a successor.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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