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Bellevue police chief to return after yearlong paid leave

September 12, 2018

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha suburb’s police chief will return to work after spending a year on paid administrative leave following a no-confidence vote from the city’s police union.

Bellevue Police Chief Mark Elbert will return to the force Sept. 20, City Attorney Patrick Sullivan announced Tuesday. The city administrator found no reason against reinstating Elbert despite some disagreement with the chief’s management decisions, Sullivan said.

Elbert, 49, has collected more than $122,000 since requesting paid administrative leave last year after the union alleged a pattern of “dishonest and deceptive conduct.” The union had told the mayor, city administrator and City Council that it had lost confidence in Elbert.

Although the investigation into the union’s allegations dragged “on much longer than Chief Elbert ever imagined, now that there has been a final resolution, he looks forward to returning to work,” said Ted Boecker, Elbert’s attorney.

The police union declined to comment, but plans to hold a press conference on the matter Thursday, said Gary Young, the union’s attorney.

The union said it has recordings of Elbert instructing a staffer to deceive other staff members and hide information from the city administration. The union also alleged the chief had made derogatory comments toward women and racial minorities.

Elbert has denied the allegations, saying they were fabricated and had “gross mischaracterizations.”

The Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice reviewed the allegations and found no merit to the complaints, Elbert said.

The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office also investigated to avoid a conflict of interest. The office found the complaints had “many inconsistencies, lies and misunderstandings of the facts,” Sullivan said.

Elbert was promoted to the department’s top spot in 2013. He joined the Bellevue force in 1996.

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