In June of 2020, Mayor Lynne Robinson, with the support of the Bellevue City Council, pledged to have an independent review of the Bellevue Police Department’s use of force policies. This review intended to identify whether any reforms were needed. This pledge included the commitment to review police policies, engage the community for input, report the findings, and reform police use of force policies. The City of Bellevue and the Bellevue Police Department are committed to ensuring their policies and practices serve all communities equally and equitably.
A message from Chief Wendell Shirley
The past two years have been challenging for both communities and law enforcement agencies across the nation. Several high-profile incidents, including the murder of George Floyd by a now-former Minneapolis police officer, have strained police-community relations engendering questions about police legitimacy, procedural justice, and police reform. The result has been a national conversation about policing in general and specifically, policing in communities of color. The issue of police reform remains front and center today.
We at the City of Bellevue and the Bellevue Police Department acknowledged these concerns and quickly stepped forward to work with the community in addressing them. That’s why in September of 2020, the City of Bellevue hired a consultant, the Office of Independent Review Group (OIR), to conduct this comprehensive use of force policy review. OIR completed and issued its final report in April 2021. Since the report’s release, the police department has been reviewing and responding to the recommendations and updating its policies. The police department has prioritized this work since we believe that any policy or procedure that may not serve all residents equitably deserves immediate scrutiny and correction. To date, the police department has responded to 35 of the 47 OIR recommendations and is working expeditiously to respond to the remaining recommendations.