Tag: bellingham police department
By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham’s new police chief, Clifford Cook, will be formally introduced to the public at a City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11.
Here’s a story we ran about Cook when he was picked as a finalist for the job.
Excerpts from the City’s press release:
Cook, 57, has 36 years of professional law enforcement experience, including extensive experience as a senior administrator in large and mid-sized police departments. He most recently served as Chief of Police for the City of Vancouver (Wash.) Police Department, a position he held for five years after serving as a deputy police chief and other leadership and staff positions with the City of Fort Worth, Texas.
Cook was selected after a competitive nation-wide search and interview process that included area law enforcement leaders, City department heads, police department employees and others. [Mayor Kelli] Linville completed formal hiring steps in January, including completing a thorough background check and additional state requirements, and welcomed Cook to City employment on Monday, Feb. 4.
By Caleb Hutton
A few months ago, after Bellingham Police Chief Todd Ramsey announced he would retire this year, Mayor Kelli Linville said we could expect his permanent replacement to be named by December.
Well, here we are, it’s December.
The city has winnowed the applicants down to six finalists who are meeting with the police department late Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 12, at the station. Two candidates are in-house; the others come from around the state and country.
Below is the list, straight from the desk of the city’s Human Resources director, Lorna Klemanski.
I added the links. They go to some background info about each candidate. It’s all cursory stuff gathered from Google searches, so take it with a grain of salt. Once the actual chief is named, we’ll go deeper into that person’s background.
David Doll, who currently serves as deputy police chief for the Bellingham Police Department. In this role, he is the deputy director of the Whatcom County Office of Emergency Management and the director of the What-Comm Communications Center. [Former Mayor Dan Pike named Doll and Ramsay as his two in-house front-runners the last time the city was searching for a police chief, back in 2007.]
James Lever, who currently serves as an assistant chief of the Washington State Patrol’s Technical Services Bureau.
Gene Markle, who most recently served as a captain with the Kirkland Police Department. A Kirkland Reporter article says he retired in 2011.
Flo Simon, who currently serves as Deputy Chief of the Bellingham Police Department. In this role she directs police department operations. [Simon served as a Bellingham police spokeswoman for several years.]
All six candidates are in town from Wednesday through Friday for interviews. They’ll also perform “exercises to assess their skills and readiness to lead the Bellingham Police Department and serve as a key member of the city’s management team,” Klemanski wrote.
Expect a pick to be made in the next week or two.
Edited at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday: Took out an irrelevant quote.
By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville put out this press release moments ago, announcing a new interim chief for the Bellingham Fire Department.
Down in paragraph five, Linville explains why she’s electing to replace our two retiring chiefs — Police Chief Todd Ramsey Ramsay and Fire Chief Bill Boyd — with two new chiefs, rather than one.
A couple weeks ago we reported the mayor was thinking of replacing Ramsey and Boyd with a single public safety director. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Linville herself has publicly spoken about the issue.
Here’s the press release:
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville announced recently her selection of Assistant Fire Chief Roger Christensen as interim chief of the Bellingham Fire Department. He will serve as interim chief beginning Oct. 12 — when Fire Chief Bill Boyd retires — until a permanent replacement is found.
Christensen is a 23-year employee of the Bellingham Fire Department. He has managed various fire and emergency medical services operations during his tenure with department. In 2004, he became Division Chief/Medical Service Officer for Whatcom Medic One and in 2007 was promoted to Assistant Fire Chief, in that position overseeing Whatcom Medic One, the fire/EMS dispatch center and overall department operations. He volunteered as a county firefighter and served as volunteer fire chief for Fire District 14, in addition to working in the private sector, prior to joining the Bellingham Fire Department in 1989.
“Assistant Chief Christensen has extensive experience in the Fire Department and in our community,” Linville said. “He is a skilled, capable leader and will make sure we continue to provide high-quality, responsive and caring emergency services. He also has been involved in many key public safety issues and initiatives, such as discussions about countywide emergency medical services and marina fire safety improvements. He will serve us very well during this time of transition and I am very grateful he is willing to take on this role.”
Boyd announced earlier this month he will retire effective Oct. 12 to take a position in the private sector, while Bellingham Police Chief Todd Ramsay announced his intention to retire at the end of 2012.
Linville also said she expects to move forward fairly quickly to recruit for new fire and police chiefs, expecting to fill both positions using open, competitive processes. She said she hopes to have a new police chief on board when Ramsay leaves at the end of this year, while the process to fill the fire chief position is expected to extend into 2013.
“I will work carefully with Police and Fire staff and bargaining unit representatives, my department head team, City Council, community members and others to look at these two positions, study public safety organizations in other cities, consider our community’s unique needs, and make sure that our next steps provide us with the expertise we need to lead us successfully into the future,” she said.
She said after considering hiring a single public safety director to lead both departments, she’s determined that it is best for Bellingham to continue to have separate chiefs. This is due in part to the size of the departments they manage and the overall size of our community, the lack of demonstrated cost savings in combining these two positions, and the number of pressing, complex public safety issues needing leadership and management attention.
She said that while she intends to continue having two public safety chiefs, she will use the coincidence of the two chiefs retiring to consider ways to streamline overall management and administration of these large departments.
“These retirements present a unique opportunity to consider ways to streamline, such as by sharing more responsibilities between departments and increasing collaboration among staff citywide,” Linville said.