Bainbridge Cop's Facebook Post May Have Cost The Department Another Officer

Last spring, Bainbridge Island police officer Michelle Vollmer posted the following message on her personal Facebook page: "Rob u missed the emphasis ob (sic) the island today. We had county, WSP, port orchard, and Poulsbo. We rained terror on the island and no one was taken alive."

What Vollmer was referring to was a so-called "emphasis patrol," in which police from five jurisdictions joined forces to do an island-wide crackdown on traffic offenses.

Well, the post apparently did not sit well with Bainbridge city council members, who at their May 11 meeting voted to turn down a federal grant that would have paid for a school resource officer -- a position Bainbridge police and school officials say is badly needed.

The Kitsap Sun wrote about the Facebook saga the other day. In their story, they cite a letter that City Manager Brenda Bauer wrote on September 15, which said of Officer Vollmer's "rained terror on the island" post: "It had an impact on the department, and on community perceptions. Council members cited this message as another reason they could not trust police officers to perform their duties in an appropriate and courteous manner, and as consequence, they declined to permit a grant application for a school resource officer who would be in contact with adolescents."

Vollmer, meanwhile, was hit with a reprimand for the Facebook entry and later was suspended for surreptitiously taping a police union meeting with Bauer. The officer resigned in lieu of termination in November.

Vollmer says any negative perception the community might have for Bainbridge police has to do with much bigger issues as well as Bauer's poor leadership.

"This is her way of trying to take the heat off her and her bad politics," Vollmer told the Sun earlier this week.

Bainbridge Mayor Kirsten Hytopoulous disputes Bauer's contention there is any linkage between Vollmer's post and the council's decision not to accept the grant -- estimated to be at $100,000 per year for three years.

"I don't recall any mention of it during the (May 11) meeting. What happened was that there was a consensus of opinion that most parents did not want a police officer present at the school," Hytopoulos tells the Daily Weekly this morning.

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