January 15, 2014 | Vol.54 N.3

Lake Stevens Police Officer Wellington terminated by city

Lake Stevens Police Officer James Wellington, 41, was terminated on December 31, 2013 after working under a "last chance" agreement with the City of Lake Stevens.

Wellington, who has been the subject of a minimum of six internal investigations since 2009, lost his job after an additional internal affairs investigation found that he had violated search and seizure duties.

"IA13-001 concluded there was a sustained Lake Stevens Police Department policy violation committed by Officer Wellington related to search and seizure responsibilities," the City of Lake Stevens said in a written statement. "As a result of this internal policy violation, previous recent discipline, past work performance, and the overall impact of the incident on the City and Police Department, the City of Lake Stevens separated its employment relationship with Officer Wellington on December 31, 2013."

Within Wellington's file it states that he has been disciplined for several items including smelling of alcohol at work, purchasing a backup handgun using his uniform allowance, abusing his sick leave and for his prosecution for drunken disturbance inside a hotel in Yellowstone Park.

The city asked for this last investigation after Wellington was on the list of potential witnesses in the Molly Conley shooting against suspect Erick N. Walker.

Walker's attorney asked the judge for some latitude on revealing Wellington's discipline issues and his creditability as a witness.

Under the guidelines of Wellington's last chance agreement, he has "no recourse" if he gets terminated for a policy violation. The only exception is if there is a "preponderance of evidence." It also states that an arbitrator cannot reinstate Wellington if he chooses to take his case to an arbitrator.

Wellington was one of the officers involved in the lawsuit against the city by Maryville resident Brandon Fenter. The city paid out $100,000 to Fenter and his wife to settle the claim.

Wellington worked for Lake Stevens Police for seven years.

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