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Report: Accucsations against Fife police leaders unfounded and not sustained

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on Oct. 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
October 27, 2011 4:57 pm

An outside investigation of allegations of improper conduct by Fife police leaders released today concludes all the accusations are either unfounded or not sustained.

The allegations included accusations of racial discrimination in the Fife Police Department, at least one sexual relationship inside the police force, and several improper actions by the police chief.

Police Chief Brad Blackburn and the two other members of the department’s command staff were accused in the complaints.

The complaints made by two Fife police officers include an accusation that Blackburn “engaged in inappropriate relationships with young adult offenders.”

An outside investigation by the Prothman Co. in Issaquah concluded the allegation that Blackburn had inappropriate relationships with the offenders was “not sustained.”

The report also concluded Blackburn and the two other command staff members did not discriminate or retaliate in the denial of bilingual pay to two police officers and on other matters.

The report says the two officers were initially denied the pay because the didn’t meet the requirements. However, both employees were granted the bilingual pay after the issue was brought forward by the Fife Police Guild and “rectified through the bargaining process,” according to the report.

The report says the charge of discrimination was “not sustained.”

The report says a charge is not sustained when “there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.” An allegation determined to be unfounded is “false or not factual,” according to the report.

City officials said in a statement they were pleased that none of the allegations was sustained. But they acknowledged “that improvements within the department can be made, particularly in the area of communication.”

City Manager Dave Zabell said Blackburn is working with a consultant to “improve communication throughout the department.” In addition, the police department will be updating its policies and procedures in the coming year, the city said.

Zabell said it wasn’t realistic for the police department to have the focus to make steps toward improvement in the midst of investigation involving so many people.

“It is good to have this episode behind us so the department can take the important steps needed to move forward,” Zabell said.

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