Published February 23 2022
City Manager Brad Miyake has appointed Interim Chief Wendell Shirley to lead the Bellevue Police Department. Chief Shirley has served as interim chief since Chief Steve Mylett left the department last August for a position in Ohio.
"We were fortunate to have Chief Shirley join the Bellevue Police Department last year after a nationwide search for the assistant chief position. Over the past six months in the interim role, I believe he has demonstrated the leadership skills and dedication necessary to lead the department," said Miyake. “It’s critical that we continue to keep our neighborhoods safe and build strong relationship with community groups and residents of all backgrounds.”
Shirley is a 26-year law enforcement professional with the Santa Monica, California Police Department. He retired in 2019 but felt called to return to public service after the nationwide protests over social justice and police reform.
"Policing in America faces many challenges, and it's imperative that we listen to our community and adapt," said Chief Shirley. "Through strong community engagement and transparency, we can continue to build trust with the Bellevue community. Community engagement is one of my top priorities."
The Chief added he would also be laser-focused on reducing crime and the fear of crime. "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."
While Bellevue has not seen a rise in violent crime, the Chief says everyone is keeping a close eye on it. "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," Shirley stated.
Chief Shirley joined the Bellevue Police Department in March 2021 as the Assistant Chief. He will be the first person of color to head the department which includes 184 commissioned officers, along with 41 non-commission personnel.