Bellevue police have a new assistant chief. Chief Steve Mylett swore in Wendell J. Shirley Monday, March 8, 2021.
Shirley joins BPD after a nearly 26-year career with the Santa Monica Police Department, where he rose to the rank of Captain. Chief Shirley retired from SMPD in 2019. As he watched the protests over social justice and police reform throughout 2020, he felt his experience and success in building better relationships with the community could be of service.
“I spent the bulk of my career helping build relationships between the police and the community,” Chief Shirley said. “I pride myself on my track record of developing relationships based on trust, honesty, and mutual respect. There’s certainly a lot of work to do, and I firmly believe my experience, training, and passion will be a valuable asset to Bellevue,” Shirley explained.
Shirley says he chose Bellevue after researching the area and speaking with Chief Mylett. “Bellevue is a beautiful city with an outstanding police department. The Chief’s philosophy and the City’s leadership all align with my values. I’m excited and humbled by this opportunity.”
“We had several highly qualified candidates for the assistant chief position,” said Chief Mylett. “But it quickly became evident Chief Shirley had the experience and qualities that we were looking for.” Chief Mylett pointed to Shirley’s vast police experience and the leadership roles he embraced both in the police department and the community.
Specifically, one of his passions is working with and mentoring our youth. Born and raised by his grandparents in Watts, CA, he saw firsthand the challenges that many of our youth and family’s face on a daily basis. Nevertheless, this taught him the value of hard work and education. “Shirley said, thinking back on his upbringing. “He hopes his story can inspire others to reach their highest potential, regardless of their circumstances.”
Chief Shirley fills a position left vacant when Carl Kleinknecht retired last year. He will oversee the Operations Division at BPD.