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Chief Wendell Shirley

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Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement

Bellevue Police Chief, Wendell Shirley, Shares His Three-Prong Approach To Our Communities Challenges

A little over a year ago, I chose to move to the Eastside and join the Bellevue Police Department. I did my research, and I knew I was moving to an area that is vibrant and growing, where the community supports its police department and enjoys a high quality of life. I moved from Southern California, where it’s around 80 or 90 degrees every day, and I couldn’t be happier with the cooler temperatures in Washington. Of course, the rain could take a break now and then, but it is truly beautiful here! 

Pricilla and I enjoy exploring the area. We are big-time foodies and check out restaurants all over the Eastside and Seattle. We drove onto a ferry and went to Bainbridge Island, and that was crazy because we had never done that before! I am most impressed with the people and how welcoming they’ve been to Pricilla and me. We are really enjoying getting to know everyone and the area. 

I retired from the Santa Monica Police Department after 25 years in 2019, but following the protests and social unrest in 2020, I felt called to return to the profession. I am sincerely grateful to City Manager Brad Miyake for selecting me to be the police chief. I also greatly appreciate the City Council and community support I’ve received. I feel honored to lead this department during these trying times. 

The Bellevue Police Department enjoys well-earned support from this community, but it is safe to say that the past few years have been challenging for both communities and law enforcement. One of the issues we are seeing around the country and here regionally is a rise in crime, specifically a spike in property crime here in Bellevue. The issues causing this crime wave are complex and will require us to work together to reduce them. 

In my humble opinion, law enforcement alone cannot solve these problems. It will take a three-prong approach: P.I.E.- Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement: Each discipline doing its part to mitigate the challenges facing us today. 

E is the last letter in the word P.I.E., yet often enforcement is what’s first called on and employed. I’m confident that by partnering with other disciplines and our community members, we can enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives, works and visits Bellevue. It will take a team effort, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

  • Chief Wendell Shirley