Seattle police lieutenant retires rather than face firing

A Seattle police lieutenant has retired rather than face a recommendation that she be fired after an internal investigation found she directed a city contractor to remove trash from her home and lied about it.

The findings released by the Office of Police Accountability on Friday determined that former Lt. Sina Ebinger was dishonest, used her position as a police officer for personal gain and acted unprofessionally.

Detective Patrick Michaud, a Seattle Police Department spokesperson confirmed to the Seattle Times that Ebinger, a 21-year department veteran, no longer works for the department.

The Office of Police Accountability found that Ebinger in February had asked a friend in another agency to have Cascadia Cleaning and Removal, a city contractor, remove some large trash items in front of her home. The friend had asked Cascadia employees not to photograph the items, which was outside of normal protocol, the OPA said.

Ebinger was the department’s lead liaison with the city’s Navigation Team, which has been used to remove homeless encampments and find resources for those displaced.

One Cascadia worker mentioned the job to another police officer, who discovered the address belonged to Ebinger.

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That officer told an acting sergeant and the two of them confronted Ebinger, who acknowledged she had asked for the favor. Ebinger said she only asked for the favor after she had contacted Seattle Public Utilities twice without results, said the OPA investigation.

Ebinger said she had not asked that the cleanup crew come specifically to her house and they made the pickup only because they were in the area. She acknowledged to the officers that she had "jumped the line" and apologized for putting them in an awkward position.

She had also told the Navigation Team director that the Cascadia workers had been in the area, according to the OPA.

However, the OPA investigation, which included interviews with several officers, Human Services officials and the Cascadia contractor and workers, found that the crew had been specifically sent to Ebinger’s house.

Also, no recent records with the public utilities showed Ebinger trying to contact them for trash pickup, the investigation said.

A request for comment made by the Seattle Times to a cell phone registered to Ebinger was not returned.

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