Bellevue – A high-ranking Bellevue police official has been demoted over issues with performance, the department said Friday.
Deputy Chief Jim Jolliffe, who was the police department’s second-in-command and a finalist to be the city’s police chief in 2014, will be returned to the rank of captain, effective immediately, Chief Steve Mylett told Q13 News.
Mylett would not discuss the issues that led to the demotion, pending an appeal process.
“All of this involves performance issues at the level of deputy chief,” Mylett said. “Strictly his ability and willingness to perform the duties that go along with being deputy chief.”
“I do have confidence that he can be successful in his new assignment and he certainly has all the knowledge and skills and abilities to do well in his role as captain.”
Jolliffe had been on paid leave since November. He will report to his new assignment in the patrol division on Monday.
His discipline comes after a series of highly embarrassing incidents for the department surrounding officer misconduct, including an incident that led to the abrupt retirement of former Deputy Chief Michael Johnson in November.
Johnson, a 24-year veteran, left the department rather than face discipline for what Chief Mylett called “a major lapse in judgment.”
Johnson had been pulled over by Sammamish police on Oct. 24, 2015, while taking his teenage son and his son’s friends to a school function. Johnson was driving them in his unmarked police vehicle, using the emergency lights and sirens to blow through an intersection, forcing other vehicles to move out of the way.
“For him it’s the end of his career here in the city of Bellevue,” Chief Steve Mylett said at the time. “He had ambition of becoming chief at some point, so this is a tremendous loss for him.”
The Bellevue Police Department has been rocked by scandal for years, much of it surrounding the personal behavior of officers. Perhaps the most high-profile incident came when two officers were thrown out of a Seattle Seahawks game for being drunk and belligerent. In a separate incident, two members of the command staff were demoted for hiding an affair.
Mylett made clear on Friday that the actions that led to Jolliffe’s discipline “do not involve violating the public’s trust or bringing embarrassment to the department.”
When Mylett was hired as chief, he promised to change the culture within the department by setting an example for officers. He also pledged to be more transparent with the public on matters of officer misconduct.