Bellingham Police Chief David Doll presented forensic artist, Ellen Brown, with a citizen commendation this morning at the police station in front of an audience of department personnel attending a monthly training day. Ellen was nominated for the citizen commendation to celebrate all the work she has done to assist the Investigation Division with compiling composite sketches for criminal cases.
When BPD learned of Ellen's exceptional abilities many years ago, along with her track record of success, they knew having her as part of the investigations team was essential. As a result, her sketches have led to many positive identifications and arrests in criminal cases. One of the most memorable cases was as sexual assault reported to BPD in 2016. Ellen worked several hours with the survivor, who was facing many challenges at the time, to complete the composite sketch. Ellen's kind, compassionate, and patient approach allowed the survivor to participate fully, feeling cared for and supported. The detailed composite sketch created ultimately helped BPD officers identify and arrest the suspect in this horrible crime. The arrestee was subsequently convicted to nine years in prison for the crime he committed. This is just one of many examples where the sketch compiled by Ellen, using the descriptions given by witnesses and survivors, has aided in the identification of a dangerous criminal. When the sketches are compared to the photos taken at the time of booking, the likeness is evident.
Though Ellen has recently retired as a forensic artist, her desire to make a difference continues to this date as she donates her time to construct these valuable and crucial sketches to the department. Chief Doll told Ellen “for this service, we thank you as it most certainly is a key element in helping to make our community safer. Your actions demonstrate that you are truly committed to your community, living our mission of the Bellingham Police Department.”
For Ellen's willingness to give back, Chief Doll commended her efforts and generosity by presenting her with the Bellingham Police Department's Citizen Commendation.