The metropolis of Bellevue, Washington, welcomed Wendell Shirley as its new police chief on February 23. The seasoned regulation enforcement veteran plans to enhance police–group relationships, cope with the uptick in crime within the metropolis and extra.
The California native mentioned he all the time wished to develop into a police officer after witnessing the dynamic of worry and mistrust that existed between the folks and the police within the Watts neighborhood the place he grew up. He wished to vary that relationship for the higher, so he pursued a profession in regulation enforcement.
“I all the time felt like if I turned a police officer, possibly I might do one thing to assist folks. You’d have the authority to do it, and you’ll actually assist folks — victims of crimes — and possibly you could possibly maintain different folks accountable. And I simply thought it was an incredible platform to do some good work,” Shirley advised Fox 13.
Shirley served with the Santa Monica Police Division for 26 years earlier than retiring in 2019. Nevertheless, he shared that the nationwide social justice and police reform protests in 2020 promoted him to return to the drive.
“I do know regulation enforcement goes by a difficult time. And a few of our colleagues have actually put us in that place. However I’ll let you know there are a whole lot of law enforcement officials on this nation that actually do it for the appropriate causes as a result of they care about folks,” he mentioned.
Shirley moved to Bellevue after being handpicked by metropolis officers for the function of assistant chief. He was interim chief for six months earlier than being sworn in at a full-time capability.
The division’s former chief, Steve Mylett, left the division for a place in Ohio.
Metropolis supervisor Brad Miyake was instrumental in appointing Shirley as chief of the division.
“We have been lucky to have Chief Shirley be part of the Bellevue Police Division final yr after a nationwide seek for the assistant chief place,” Miyake mentioned. “Over the previous six months within the interim function, I consider he has demonstrated the management expertise and dedication essential to steer the division. It’s essential that we proceed to maintain our neighborhoods protected and construct robust relationships with group teams and residents of all backgrounds.”
Shirley’s primary objectives are to scale back crime within the metropolis whereas participating with the group.
To handle the rise in crime, Shirley described his plan — which he calls PIE — as having three elements: prevention, intervention and enforcement.
“And in the event you discover, enforcement is the final letter. So we’d like extra prevention, we’d like extra intervention and there additionally must be enforcement/penalties. So it’s going to take an umbrella of providers to assist us get by this,” he mentioned.