City of Bellingham police chief hiring process — success or flop?

April 14, 2022
Riveters Collective Justice System Committee

A local civic action group is hoping Bellingham’s next police chief will work to strengthen community cohesion and be transparent and accountable to the public.

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Hope isn’t a strategy: Bellingham again seeks a new police chief

February 2, 2022
Mike Sato

The City of Bellingham has renewed its search for a new police chief, and aims to choose from a short list of finalists by this summer.

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Election 2021: City, county candidates vary on police reform needs, approaches

October 7, 2021
Stella Harvey

Urgency around police reform and public safety has not brought people to the streets this year, but voters in Bellingham and Whatcom County have the opportunity to weigh in on what approach their local officials should take when it comes to local policing and public safety.

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Police, mental health workers face challenge, confusion with new use-of-force law

August 20, 2021
Matt Benoit

House Bill 1310 established new rules about use of force by police when it took effect in Washington last month, and law enforcement and social service agencies continue to grapple with confusion related to challenges to the new law.

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Community Voices / New police laws will make our communities safer

August 3, 2021
Sen. Liz Lovelett, Rep. Debra Lekanoff and Rep. Alex Ramel

In response to “a clear call” for reforms in criminal justice and police accountability, Washington’s state legislature responded with several new laws. Now, 40th District legislators say they believe there has been some misinterpretation of the new laws, and hope that lawmakers and law enforcement agencies will continue to work to implement the new laws in good faith.

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People’s choice: renter protections, police tech, workers’ rights initiatives make November ballot

July 26, 2021
Ella Banken

After a major volunteer-led effort, four initiatives presented by People First Bellingham received enough verified signatures to be on November’s ballot, even as some city council members expressed concern potential legal challenges the initiatives may present.

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Search for new police chief surfaces questions about transparency and the public’s role

June 23, 2021
Stella Harvey

As the City of Bellingham, city council and the newly formed Racial Equity Commission seek to address systemic racism in and out of policing, some community members looking to engage in the selection process for a new police chief in good faith have raised questions about the city’s commitment to transparency.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Law and order, alternatives to jail: Bellingham compiles a wide-ranging priorities wish list for new police chief

May 13, 2021
Stella Harvey

As Bellingham’s search for a new police chief moves forward, the community has weighed in on what priorities should be under new leadership: some say law and order should top the list, others say it’s time to reimagine policing.

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photo: Mike Sato © 2020

Bellingham police budget tweaked for near future; equity advocates continue push for more

December 18, 2020
Stella Harvey

In Bellingham, some local racial justice advocacy groups transitioned their demands from over the summer to budget season, looking for tangible proof that their representatives heard their calls for change over the last six months.

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photo: Mike Sato © 2020

‘Defund the police’ movement drives Whatcom racial justice discussions

August 14, 2020
Alex Meacham

Local activists are advocating for a 50% reduction in the Bellingham Police Department budget, even as BPD says it could use more resources for meeting the calls it routinely answers now — including a large number related to behavioral health and social welfare. While reformers would like to see change soon, community-wide conversations are just beginning, and the eventual direction and pace of change are as yet unknown.

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From the Editor’s Desk: Fact-checking state Senate candidates

September 2, 2022
Mike Sato and Salish Current staff

Fact-checked: Salish Current reviewed comments made in an online form by candidates for the 42nd District Senate seat.

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Local policing at recruitment crossroads

July 7, 2022
Kai Uyehara

Local police departments are adapting to staff and applicant shortages in ways as multifaceted as the reasons behind the trend. 

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A twisted path to homelessness

July 6, 2022
John Dunne

A community resident finds herself without long-term housing after a downward spiral into homelessness.

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Faith-based Lynden group works for racial unity

July 1, 2022
Clifford Heberden

Racial tensions in Lynden in 2020 galvanized the formation of a group working to build bridges between communities and cultures.

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photo: Kai Uyehara

New safe-space resource center would assist immigrants

June 24, 2022
Kai Uyehara

Bellingham’s Immigration Advisory Board is recommending a new resource center to assist immigrants in finding and accessing essential services.

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Retail theft surge prompts varied responses

June 3, 2022
Matt Benoit

As the presence of security guards grows in response to increased retail theft, some residents say de-escalation is a better strategy.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2022
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