Meet Bellingham’s new chief of police
What: Race and Gender in Whatcom County
When: 12:30 pm Thu., Jan. 21
he YWCA hosts a virtual presentation with Police Chief Flo Simon, the first of a four-part Women of Color Speaker Series taking place through October.
Cost: Free, but please register in advance.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Bellingham made history this month, appointing the first woman as the city’s chief of police. Flo Simon began her assignment as interim police chief, following a ceremony where she received the badge of office from Mayor Seth Fleetwood.
Interim Chief Simon is a 30-year veteran of the department who most recently served as Deputy Chief. Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood selected her to serve as interim chief upon the retirement of former Chief David Doll. Doll announced his retirement in December after 40 years with the department.
“We are quite fortunate that Deputy Chief Simon is willing and highly qualified to lead the department during this transition,” Fleetwood said. “She is well known and respected in our community and I look forward to working with her in this leadership role.”
“The significance of this day is not lost on me,” Simon said. “I am proud to be the first woman to be named as Bellingham’s police chief, and it is a great honor to fulfill this role in the department where I have grown up and served for my entire law enforcement career,” she said. “I am proud to stand with the women and men of the Bellingham Police Department and continue to build the culture that has propelled this department to be one of the best in the nation.”
Fleetwood said he is grateful to have Simon’s experienced and capable leadership for the department during this transition.
Simon said she accepted the mayor’s offer to serve as interim chief until a new chief is appointed, noting that she plans to retire later this year. The city plans for Simon to be an integral part of a hiring process for a new chief.
Simon was hired as a commissioned officer in 1989 and rose through the ranks to become deputy chief in 2008. Her experiences within the department include patrol, special investigations, crisis negotiator, field training officer, DARE officer, bicycle patrol, investigations, and first-level and middle-management leadership.
She was the first woman to achieve the rank of sergeant, lieutenant, deputy chief and now chief in the Bellingham Police Department. She is a graduate of Western Washington University and the FBI National Academy. She currently serves as a board member of Bellingham Public School Foundation and the Whatcom Community Foundation, as well as being a member of the Bellingham Bay Rotary Club.
Janice Keller is the communications director for the City of Bellingham.
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