Bellevue Police Chief Mark Elbert issued a response to the union's statement of "no confidence" late Wednesday, calling the allegations "false characterization" and criticizing the union and its attorney for the manner in which those allegations had come to light.
“I categorically reject the false characterization asserted by the union and its attorneys in the statements they have recently published," Chief Elbert's statement says.
A union statement issued earlier Wednesday night said the group had "evidence reflecting a pattern of dishonest and deceptive conduct" on the part of Chief Elbert, including tape recordings of Elbert instructing a BPD member to deceive other BPD members and conceal actions of the chief, especially in matters that were "contrary to desires of" other city officials.
The letter also accused Chief Elbert of initiating multiple Internal Affairs investigations against union leadership as retaliation for union activity, and indicated there was evidence the chief had made derogatory comments about women and minorities.
Elbert directly disputed the Bellevue Police Officers Association's allegation that he had made such derogatory comments, calling the suggestion "particularly offensive" as he is "a father to minority children... and would never tolerate such comments or actions."
According to his statement, Elbert is not "a party to any disciplinary or legal proceeding whatsoever," nor is he aware of any pending proceedings involving other Bellevue Police Department employees, noting that "since those cases concern employee personnel matters, unfortunately, I cannot comment in any detail."
Elbert went on to express his disappointment in the manner in which the allegations had come to light.
"It is disheartening that rather than pursue their claims in a proper forum, certain individuals and union counsel have attempted to retaliate against me and other members of the department with false statements and innuendos, and have disseminated those false statements and innuendos to other department members," he says. "Regrettably, I was not afforded the opportunity to defend myself from these meritless claims before they were asserted, nor given the opportunity to point out the motivations of those individuals making these false assertions."
Elbert says in the statement that he looks forward to the opportunity to defend himself against "these tactics" and is confident any review of his conduct "will conclude that I have discharged my duties in a responsible and wholly appropriate manner at all times."