Bellevue’s interim police chief addresses police reform, outlines vision for the department

Aug 6, 2021, 2:26 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm
Bellevue Interim Police Chief...
Wendell Shirley (left) with former Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett. (City of Bellevue)
(City of Bellevue)

Bellevue Interim Police Chief Wendell Shirley has replaced former Chief Steve Mylett, who is scheduled to begin as police chief of Akron, Ohio, on Aug. 9.

The City of Bellevue is currently looking for a permanent replacement for the role.

In an interview with the KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show, Shirley spoke to his vision for the Bellevue Police Department, touching on the Washington Legislature’s recent police reform. More specifically, he shared how his department has been affected by House Bill 1054, which establishes limits on the equipment used by officers.

While a well-intentioned piece of legislation, which, in part, attempts to limit the militarization of Washington state police, its scope of definition for “military equipment” has encompassed less-lethal equipment, such as shotguns used to deploy bean bag charges.

Rantz: King County Sheriff’s Office, other agencies pull several non-lethal tools

“I will also say I certainly would have liked — and I’m sure my fellow chiefs and sheriffs would share the same thought — the laws would have have been much, much clearer than they are, so that there’s not this confusion,” Shirley said. “We’re having to backtrack and try and figure it out while we’re implementing it when it came into effect July 27. So I wish the laws would have been much more clear.”

Wendell indicated that it is his will to work with the city attorney’s office to implement the laws as they were intentioned. On the subject of police reform, he alluded to the Office of Independent Review’s analysis of Bellevue Police.

“OIR Group works with local governments, community members, and police agencies to address these contemporary challenges and collaborate on sustainable reforms,” reads the group’s website.

The report made 47 recommendations, including the use of body cameras in Bellevue.

“We’re looking at a body worn camera program. We’re working hard to research and bring that forth to our police officers,” Shirley said. “We’re also working through those policies and where we can adjust and fit in with what the report’s recommendations were.”

Shirley retired as a captain after 26 years of service with Santa Monica Police Department. He came out of retirement after “seeing the national conversation as it relates to law enforcement and communities in 2020,” he said during the interview. “I felt like my leadership style and what I had to give could contribute in some way.”

The interim chief also did indicate that he has not applied for the permanent position in Bellevue.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Jason Rantz

Rantz: WA Dept of Health defends mocking a death, then censors critic

WADOH mocked the death of a Washingtonian in a tone-deaf tweet. After criticism, the department triple-downed on the message.
2 days ago
police pursuit...
Frank Sumrall

Redmond’s new police tech working in tandem with WA pursuit laws

Redmond police have introduced a new GPS-monitoring technology to help track and locate criminals attempting to flee a crime scene.
2 days ago
Decatur High School...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: High School staffer faces investigation for alleged sex with student

A high school staff member is on leave pending the results of a police investigation. He's accused of having sexual contact with a student.
2 days ago
elementary school club...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Elementary school bans white students from ‘safe space’ club

A local elementary school has a student club that excludes students based on their race, according to a parent.
3 days ago
Frank Sumrall

State Rep: ‘None of these locations are suitable’ for a future airport

According to Jason Rantz, the acting chairman of CACC, Warren Hendrickson, stated he believes none of the airport locations will move forward.
5 days ago
Frank Sumrall

Ballard brewery owner nearly loses business to homeless fire

Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Co. in Ballard was nearly destroyed after a fire created by a homeless person nearly engulfed the property in flames.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Bellevue’s interim police chief addresses police reform, outlines vision for the department