I read with sadness and disappointment of the handling of the James Wellington situation in Lake Stevens. (“Officer given one last chance.”) I am not a resident of that city, but I retired from law enforcement after 29 years of service as a deputy chief. I was in charge of internal investigations, and previously, served as president of the police guild. I am familiar with both collective bargaining agreements and civil service protections. Certainly not in the city I worked in, nor in any of know of, would a municipality be handcuffed into retaining an officer with the record of serious transgressions, temperament and ethical failings of Officer Wellington. The fact that Mayor Little has decided to retain a misfit of this caliber reflects even more poorly on municipal leadership than on the officer.
The public has every right to expect the highest standards of ethics, integrity and conduct in police officers. Trust and confidence in law enforcement is predicated absolutely on this principle. Officers with the character and conduct such as that of Wellington erode that trust and confidence. Mayor Little violated this principle in his decision to retain Officer Wellington. Hopefully the residents of Lake Stevens will insist on the ethical high road when Mayor Little, and other elected officials who endorsed the ill-begotten decision to retain Officer Wellington, are up for re-election.