Bellevue Taps Interim Chief To Lead The Police Department

BELLEVUE, WA — Interim Bellevue Police Chief Wendell Shirley will continue leading the city’s police department, formally replacing former chief Steve Mylett who left the department last August. Shirley worked in the Santa Monica Police Department for 26 years and came out of retirement in March 2021 to join the Bellevue Police Department as an assistant chief.

Shirley has filled the role since Mylett’s departure and will become the city’s first Black police chief, leading more than 180 officers and dozens of other department personnel. City Manager Brad Miyake began searching for a permanent chief last July and ultimately decided Shirley was the right person for the job.

“Over the past six months in the interim role, I believe he has demonstrated the leadership skills and dedication necessary to lead the department,” Miyake said. “It’s critical that we continue to keep our neighborhoods safe and build strong relationship[s] with community groups and residents of all backgrounds.”

Shirley identified community engagement and transparency among his top priorities moving forward, along with a multi-pronged approach to policing.

“I believe in the PIE philosophy, that through Prevention, Intervention and Enforcement, we can impact the quality-of-life crimes in our neighborhoods, like car prowls, car thefts and shoplifting,” Shirley said. “Public safety is a partnership. Law enforcement cannot do it alone and we need to partner with our residents and business community to continue to enjoy a high quality of life in Bellevue.”

On Tuesday, the police department also announced a new training program designed to facilitate “candid conversations” between officers and the community. The “Transformational Policing Model” began with an interactive course Wednesday, pairing 15 Bellevue officers with 15 residents.

“This training is critical to building trusting relationships with the communities we serve,” Shirley said. “Every one of our officers will attend this training with the goal that both the officers and community members will come away with mutual respect and understanding.”

Source: Bellevue Patch