Like so many organizations in our region and across the country, the City of Bellingham is experiencing staffing shortages. While this has affected various City services, we have especially critical needs in law enforcement that have resulted in changes in how public safety services are delivered. Coupled with an inadequate jail, court backlogs, legislative changes and other factors, these circumstances contribute to community members expressing concerns about crime and safety.
City leaders are working diligently to address these concerns in many ways and are making steady progress. Discussions about public safety needs and actions at Bellingham City Council meetings, in the news media, during public presentations and in articles for various publications. Listed below are some key resources:
- Addressing public safety needs (Article by Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood, Fall 2022)
- City ‘working diligently’ to hire police, dispatchers: Shortages are recruiting challenge, not budget problem (Article by Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood, November 30, 2022)
- Addressing priorities in public safety: Challenges are recruiting and retaining officers, not lack of funding (Article by Bellingham City Council Public Safety Committee, December 2, 2022)
- Introductory presentation at Community Voices on Public Safety: Town Hall Meeting May 16, 2022 (Meeting agenda and video recording, Bellingham City Council)
- Presentations by Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Richey and Deputy Police Chief Don Almer, May 9, 2022 (Meeting agenda and video recording, Bellingham City Council, Committee of the Whole)
- Lens on Law Enforcement Town Hall Meeting September 22, 2022 (Meeting video, hosted by Downtown Bellingham Partnership and Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce)