Fortunately, Bellingham is taking proactive measures. And we hope they are taking it seriously.
“…sessions were attended by all BPD command staff, Mayor Linville, city council member Hammill and three members of our police Citizen Advisory Council. Also participating were representatives from Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, the faith-based community, Opportunity Council and the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.”
Strangely, there was no mention of the Restorative Community Coalition or the Racial Justice Coalition being involved. A simple search turned up nothing on the referenced Advisory Council. Nothing at the Police Department either. That’s not good news.
Well known local community advocate Stephanie Kountouros attended the Bellingham sessions and had this to say, “…it was the beginning of some excellent dialog between BPD staff and people with different community perspectives and concerns.” and “…if continued, can be a bridge-building between the police and citizens that could create a path forward toward a police force that is as pro-community and able to act without bias…”
Please, let’s encourage this dialog to continue - and make sure those already involved are invited.