The Bellevue Police Chief has demoted two of her top commanders for having a romantic relationship that they failed to report to their deputy chief as required by department policy.
According to internal documents obtained by KING 5, Major John Manning, who is married, had an extramarital affair with Capt. Autumn Fowler, who is also married. The relationship began in January 2012 and violates the Bellevue Police Department’s code of conduct because Manning supervised Fowler. Had Manning or Fowler reported the relationship, they could have been reassigned, according to disciplinary memos issued by Police Chief Linda Pillo. Instead, another captain discovered the relationship and reported it to department and to Manning’s wife, according to Pillo.
Manning, one of three majors in the department, has been demoted to lieutenant. Fowler, one of eight captains, has also been demoted to lieutenant. Both were given "Last Chance" notices informing them that they would likely be terminated should they commit similar violations in the future.
In disciplinary memos to Manning and Fowler, Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo wrote: “You consciously disregarded the interests of the Department to further your own personal interests.”
Pillo also wrote: “This was not a momentary lapse in judgment. You chose your personal wants and needs over the Department’s for eight months,” wrote Pillo.
The demotions come following a Washington State Patrol investigation that began in September and involved six members of the police department’s command staff. Pillo requested assistance from the State Patrol to avoid a conflict of interest.
Carla Iafrate, Public Information Officer for Bellevue Police Department said the chief is unavailable for interviews. Iafrate said the demotions “will definitely have some impact on morale. It’s not those two individuals brightest day.”
Last month a Bellevue Police Corporal was demoted to officer and an officer was suspended for obnoxious and unruly behavior outside of a Seahawks game.