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					Category:                         Special Over 40,000 Population
Winner or Honorable Mention:
Title of the Project:             Bellingham, WA Police Dept. Community Policing
                                  Extended Outreach Program
City:                             City of Bellingham
Name:                             Todd Ramsay
Title:                            Lieutenant
Phone:                            (360) 676-6593



The Bellingham Police Department currently employs 107 commissioned officers and is
committed to the philosophy of community policing. The cooperative effort between our
police officers and citizens is fostered by a leadership approach of establishing an
atmosphere of close contact within our community. The success of our problem solving-
partnership is based on an on-going effort to promote an informed, organized and
involved community voice. Bellingham, Washington is a growing and changing
community of approximately 60,000 citizen. The unique diversity changes taking place
throughout the United States offer all our communities a valuable opportunity to benefit.
It is our police department's goal to promote opportunities for representation and
participation for all our citizens! To that end, in 1998 we created our "Extended
Outreach Program." (See enclosed 8 1/2x 11 color promotional photos)

Recent population growth projections have revealed a tremendous growth in ethnic
minorities. For Bellingham this included a threefold increase in Hispanic, Asian Pacific
and Russian/Ukrainian citizens. Bellingham is also located next to the Lummi and
Nooksack Indian Nation Reservations. Our Extended Outreach Program objective is to
encourage participation from all the diverse segments of the community in addressing
their needs and concerns. As a police department it is our community philosophy that ...
understanding, working together and supporting one another to build a community
enhances the quality of life for all our citizens. This is an unparalleled opportunity for
Bellingham because of its wide variety of cultural, religious, and ethnic groups.

The cornerstone of our Extended Outreach Program is the commitment from individual
volunteer "outreach officers," to promote involvement by all segments of our community.
Each outreach officer first made a concerted effort to identify the different ethnic
segments of our community, then develop and maintain that relationship. This included
attending a wide variety of community meetings and events. Regular participation
included such events as The Bellingham Herald Cultural Diversity Fairs, Whatcom
Hispanic Organization Scholarship and Benito Juarez Award ceremonies and meetings,
Northern Puget Sound NAACP meetings, Department of Health & Social Services
Information Fairs, SEA MAR Community Health Center/Bellingham School District
Family Resource-Annual Feria De La Amistad community resources Program, and an
established outreach relationship with the Bellingham School District English Second
Language (ESQ program representatives. (See Diversity Fair Attachment: #1)

Another resource for our officers, is the fact that Bellingham is the home of Western
Washington University and Whatcom Community College. Both of these institutions
offer our outreach officers an excellent avenue for promoting a sense of community and
involvement. For example, some of our officers were involved in the development of a
Whatcom Community College welcoming video presentation (appropriate languages)
for foreign students. (An information sheet on the video is at attachment: #2)

Additionally, by way for a federal grant and in partnership with a local television station
we are developing a "Bellingham Police Department Video" for use in public talks.
Initially it will be create it in English, Spanish and Russian language versions. We are
also in the process of adding the Extended Outreach Program to our Bellingham Police
Department Web page. It will tentatively be structured with a title page containing an
overview of the program, with subsequent pages for each outreach group, focusing on
and articulating our community partnership initiative. An exciting aspect of all these
opportunities is that each "outreach officer" recognizes their responsibility, not only as
police officers but as "representatives of our ethnic families."

A basic success principle in our community oriented policing approach is empowering
officers at the lowest echelon of the organizational structure. It is a refreshing validation
that this approach works ... as the idea of reaching out to the minority segments of our
community originated as "an idea of our officers on the street." We readily recognize
that our lieutenants and sergeants hold key leadership positions in our department, as
such, they are represented as volunteer outreach officers as well. We have a sergeant
responsible as the program coordinator and one or more volunteer officers assigned to
each minority segment of our community (A listing of our outreach officers is at
attachment: #3)

Volunteer outreach officers are given wide latitude in developing their community
contacts during their normal work hours. When participating in public talks or other
events, not scheduled during normal duty time, the officers are paid overtime. When
evaluating the cost to benefit factor the cost is considered to be overall minimal in
comparison to the value.        Outreach officers in turn compile a general file of
citizens/organizations contacted and a brief information summary of the contacts by way
of our automated report writing system. This is accomplished by completing a formatted
community oriented policing information report. This aspect of the program is vital in
that it provides outreach officers with the opportunity to document their efforts.
Additionally, it provides the mechanism for new outreach officers to review the progress
already made. Copies of the reports are provided to the program coordinators for
information purposes by annotating the report as "copy to." (A sample copy of the
formatted report form is attachment: #4) to this entry. Our police department
currently has outreach officers for the following richly diverse segments of our

              Hispanic/Latino             African-American
              Russian[Ukrainian           Asian
              Native American             East Indian
              Jewish                      Gay/Lesbian

Our Outreach Officers are provided with business cards identifying themselves as
contacts. An example of one of our business cards is attachment to this entry (see
attachment: #5). Anytime a citizen or ethnic group has a question that may involve a
specific culture or group our outreach officers are provided with the inquiry and follow up
by contacting the citizen. With the advent of the rapidly changing diversity in our
community we find that in some instances new citizens from other ethnic backgrounds
are hesitant and unfamiliar with community policing. As a result, they may be hesitant to
complain when they are not satisfied with police service or on the other hand are
unfamiliar with the fact that they can express their appreciation for the service provided.
To encourage this discourse we have, for example, developed complaint/commendation
forms. (A copy of a Spanish version of one of our forms is at attachment: #6)

As part of our Extended Outreach Program we also re-created our Community Police
Services Pamphlet to reflect our community policing philosophy message of "inclusion,
participation and representation." Entitled "A Community In Partnership ... Strengthened
By Its Diversity," it reflects our commitment to our community. Each page contains an
interactive photograph with a stimulating message or expression. For example "Our
Strength Comes From Our Diversity and Many Points of View," and "A Future Rich in
Diversity and Community Involvement." (A copy of the pamphlet is enclosed)

Cultural sensitive officers are an important part of promoting an informed and involved
community voice. As part of this initiative our goal is to raise awareness and sensitivity
levels when dealing with people whose experiences may be unlike our own. As a part of
each officer's on going professional development we have invited community leaders to
speak to our officers. For example, we had the opportunity of having the president of the
Whatcom Hispanic Organization speak to our intermediate supervisors during a
meeting. Recently, during in-service training our officers participated in training on
cultural diversity. In conjunction with the training each officer was issued a "Culturgram."
A Culturgram is a two-volume reference that provides information on: daily customs,
lifestyles, political systems and economic structure of 174 countries. It is our view that
their availability offers our officers a greater opportunity to understand their community
and reflect or gain added insight of a particular incident involving a specific culture. The
resource references were obtained through a federal grant at no cost to our department.
(A copy of the cover page and forward are at attachment: #7)

Our "Extended Outreach Program," has been immeasurable in the benefits to our
community of Bellingham. As an ongoing process this initiative has unequivocally
contributed to our community being a positive and safer place to live. An accurate
measure of the impact of our outreach officers in our community is best reflected in the
comments from our citizens. During a recent Police Community Interaction Council
meeting one citizen leader made the comment "it is refreshing to see that anyone of our
citizens is able to approach and speak to a Bellingham police officer and feel
comfortable about it." As a police department our goal is that every officer view
themselves as a community outreach officer ... we are well on our way! The cost of our
Extended Outreach Program is quantified not so much in dollars but more appropriately
in our commitment to our community.

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