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Police Chief

Location: Bellingham
Posted on: May 3, 2021

Job Description:

Nature of Work

All qualified candidates are strongly encouraged to apply by April 11, 2021 (first review, open until filled). Applications, supplemental questions, resumes and cover letters will only be accepted electronically.

To apply online, go to and click on "Open Recruitments", select "City of Bellingham, WA - Police Chief", and click "Apply Online", or click here.

The City of Bellingham is seeking an accomplished professional to serve as Police Chief. For complete information, please review the job brochure.


The Police Chief actively provides leadership, direction, and general administrative oversight to the Police Department and employees responsible for police protection and law enforcement services within the jurisdictional boundaries of Bellingham; for the operation of the County-wide public safety emergency dispatch center; and for cooperative relationships and initiatives with regional law enforcement agencies. Work involves significant community engagement and public involvement with elected officials, law enforcement agencies and institutions, residents, neighborhood groups, and other governmental entities. As a member of the City's senior management team, collaborates with the Executive Department, City Council, and other City departments on strategy and policy to ensure that the City's mission and core values are incorporated into operational activities and services.

It is expected that the Police Chief will provide:

Organizational Leadership: Actively leads by planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and evaluating the work of the Police Department. Oversees the management of the day-to-day administration of the Department, including budget, departmental structure and staffing, field operations, reporting and communications, stewardship and development of assets, personnel and labor relations, and customer service activities.

Program Development and Oversight of Operations: Oversees the management of all Police Department activities, communications, officer safety, routine and special emphasis patrol, investigations, evidence-gathering and security, community policing, crime prevention, records and reporting. Coordinates programs and activities of the Department with other City departments, local and regional agencies, and citizen groups to ensure that programs and activities are in place to meet the law enforcement needs of the community. Participates directly in the planning and development of significant projects such as those involving multiple jurisdictions and long-term implementation. Ensures consistency with law and the City's goals and objectives. Actively participates in the work of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, and is an active member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Facilitates and promotes ongoing research into new approaches, technologies and trends, and recommends implementation of programs and equipment to help the Department achieve its objectives more efficiently. Prepares or reviews the preparation of regular monthly and annual reports on Departmental operations and projects.

Emergency Management and Special Incidents: Serves as a member of the City/County Emergency Management team observing protocols and emergency actions to protect public health and safety. May act as one of the Emergency Operations Center's incident commanders during local states of emergency and other disaster situations, or provide guidance as a member of an EOC's established Policy Group. Briefs the Mayor and elected officials on developments which might affect overall public safety and/or other dimensions of public and community relations.

Inter-local Agreements and Operations: Responsible for administering inter-local service agreements which provide support services between the Bellingham Police Department and other agencies: Evidence and Identification services; Records Bureau services; County-wide Emergency Management; and County-wide 9-1-1 Central Dispatch services. This responsibility also includes administration and staff support for the various committees and boards related to such services.

Strategic Planning: Works with elected officials, department heads, staff, community members, and other agencies to develop long-range plans for meeting the law enforcement needs of the community. Sets yearly goals and objectives of the Police Department in alignment with the Council-adopted Legacies and Strategic Commitments.

Policy Development: Establishes rules and regulations for the Police Department that meet established Washington State Accreditation Standards for law enforcement agencies (through WASPC), and reviews and updates such rules and regulations periodically to insure that they remain current and in conformity with changing needs of the City as well as with applicable federal and state laws and the City Charter.

Personnel Management: Promotes ethical leadership at all levels of the Department. Develops and maintains a workforce committed to, and with highly developed competencies in, customer service, results orientation, and team work. Directly or through managers, appoints, supervises, issues general orders, provides for training and performance evaluation and development, and ensures accountability of Department employees. Provides for the training in, promotion of, and accountability for safe work practices and working conditions for employees. Ensures compliance with federal and state laws as well as labor agreements and City-wide and Department policies and procedures.

Fiscal and Business Management: Ensures the financial well-being of the department by establishing cost control measures and monitoring all fiscal operations of the Department. Prepares annual budget and justifies budget requests and amendments. Projects and procures revenues and funding for the work of the department, including management of grants and accessing federal and state funding sources. Assures the efficient and economical use of Departmental funds, manpower, equipment, materials, facilities and time.

Community Involvement and Communications: Represents the Department and provides City-wide communication programs to disseminate information on Police Department initiatives, crime prevention and community assistance programs. Directs planning and presentation of public involvement programs for neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and other community groups. Coordinates staff assignments to facilitate efficient and meaningful community engagement, pro-active policing programs, and policy direction.

Senior Management Team: Provides information and advice to the Mayor and City Council on strategic planning and accomplishment of City goals and objectives. Participates in organization-wide strategic planning. Coordinates the Department's activities with those of other City departments and offices to ensure a consistent approach towards common projects and interests and the cost effective delivery of services. Represents the Police Department at City Council meetings, and on various committees and task forces related to City projects; attends joint staff meetings with other public safety agencies from both within and outside the structure of City government. Responds to requests for input from various committees of the State Legislature and/or government; and prepares and proposes pertinent legislation related to public safety to the appropriate legislative bodies.


  • Other duties as assigned.


Work is performed primarily in an office environment subject to frequent interruptions with extensive work at a computer workstation. Frequent site visits to various City and community facilities and emergency scenes on or off the normal work week schedule. May be exposed to highly stressful situations and individuals who are irate or hostile; may be subject to long hours due to attendance at City Council meetings and other responsibilities required at this executive level. Flexibility to work evening and weekend hours and occasional overnight travel to conferences and training sessions required. Vehicle use includes police communications and other policing equipment.

Physically perform the essential functions of the position, including:

  • correctable visual acuity to read a computer screen and a typeset page;
  • fine finger dexterity to manipulate computer keyboard and mouse; and
  • ability to talk and hear sufficiently to communicate with city officials, employees and the public.

Experience and Training

  • Bachelor's degree in law enforcement, criminal justice or related field.
  • Seven years of progressively responsible law enforcement experience as a commissioned officer including five years in senior law enforcement management.
  • Experience in local government law enforcement preferred. Advanced law enforcement training from the FBI National Academy, Executive Command College or other advanced/executive training preferred.

In place of the above requirements, any combination of relevant education and experience which clearly demonstrates the knowledge, skill and ability to perform the essential functions of the job will be considered.

Necessary Special Requirements

  • Sworn law enforcement position: State law requires U.S. citizenship, basic certification or equivalency from Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission
  • Employment contingent upon passing a criminal convictions check, background investigation, psychological evaluation, polygraph examination and fingerprinting.
  • Valid Washington State driver's license and good driving record. Must submit a three-year driving record abstract prior to hire.

Selection Process

All qualified candidates are strongly encouraged to apply by April 11, 2021 (first review, open until filled). Applications, supplemental questions, resumes and cover letters will only be accepted electronically. To apply online, go to and click on "Open Recruitments", select "City of Bellingham, WA - Police Chief", and click "Apply Online", or click here. Resumes, cover letters and supplemental questions can be uploaded once you have logged in.

Equal Opportunity:

Our environment is characterized by respect for cultural backgrounds, belief systems, and ethnic diversity. The City of Bellingham is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values diversity in its work force. We do not make decisions on the basis of an individual's race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, age (40+), disability, retaliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, honorably discharged veteran or military status, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, or any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law. All are encouraged to apply for employment.

Keywords: BELLINGHAM CITY OF, Bellingham , Police Chief, Other , Bellingham, Washington

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