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Bainbridge Island Police Guild: Chief Fehlman's departure means 'closure'

The Bainbridge Island Police Guild released a statement Wednesday on last week's surprise resignation of Jon Fehlman, and said the chief of police's departure meant "closure" for the police department.

Fehlman resigned, effective Sept. 15, following the release of an outside investigator's report on allegations of misdeeds that had been made against the chief by the police guild.

In its statement Wednesday, which was not signed by any of the guild's officers, the union said Fehlman's departure would allow "closure" for the department.

The statement: "Given the difficulties the Bainbridge Island Police Department has faced during the tenure of Chief Jon Fehlman, we are appreciative that his resignation will now allow closure.

"The Bainbridge Island Police Guild also acknowledges the support of Interim City Manager Morgan Smith who investigated the claims along with Ms. Rebecca Dean for her professional report.

"The Guild recognizes that work is still needed to close the gap between the community and the Bainbridge Island Police Department and holds that as a valued goal.

"Members of the Guild wish Jon Fehlman all of the best in his future endeavors," the statement concluded.

The union took a vote of "no confidence" in Fehlman on June 11, and accused Fehlman of malfeasance and said he had not been a "capable or efficient steward of the Bainbridge Island Police Department."

The guild also made multiple allegations of wrongdoings, and the city hired Dean, a Seattle lawyer and workplace investigator, to look into the claims.

The investigator's report, which was made public last week, said most of the guild's accusations could not be proven.

City officials had also asked the Kitsap County Prosecutor's Office to review the claims of misdeeds, and the prosecutor's office sent the city a "decline to prosecute" notice and said Fehlman had not broken any laws.

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