Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced today the process for selecting the City’s next Police Chief has concluded without selecting a new chief from among the finalists identified last month. A new selection process for the position will begin late this fall.
Fleetwood said Interim Police Chief Flo Simon, who originally planned to retire this summer, has agreed to stay on through the end of the year. He said we held a robust recruitment process and, while several strong candidates were interviewed as finalists, we did not find an individual that met the City’s and the community’s vision for the future of the Bellingham Police Department.
“We asked for and received valuable feedback from the community and key stakeholders regarding the desired key qualities and attributes of the next Police Chief,” he said. “During this important time of transition in law enforcement, we need a leader that fits our vision for the future of the Bellingham Police Department.”
He added that, in addition to initiating a new recruitment process, the balance of this year will include important steps for law enforcement, including the City considering a police oversight model and strategy, reviewing the local impacts of 13 police-related bills approved by the Legislature, and potentially related amendments to the 2021-2022 biennial budget.
“This will be an important year for local law enforcement strategic planning,” Fleetwood said. “I am grateful Chief Simon has agreed to stay on during this time. Her assistance with the Police Chief selection process and other law enforcement strategic planning priorities has been essential. We will solicit new candidates for the Police Chief position in late fall and proceed with another selection process.”