Ever think, here in the year 2022 in Bellingham and Whatcom County, folks have got to be off-base who are claiming that law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMT’s (emergency medical technicians) or firefighters don’t have sufficient knowledge of behavioral health concepts and approaches to properly serve the needs of community members?
In advance of that forum the Bellingham City Council received some presentations yesterday from the Whatcom County Prosecutor and from Bellingham Police Department’s Deputy Chief related to crime.
Based on material I heard in those presentations I sent the email below to the Whatcom County Justice Project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee. This is the email address people can use to contact them: SAC@co.whatcom.wa.us
As people are becoming more and more aware, Whatcom County is moving forward in various government meetings towards a needs assessment for what they are calling a “public health, safety and justice facility.” In general, that facility is acknowledged to be a new jail in combination with mental and behavioral health services.
Click the graphic to access this page on the Whatcom County website
January 19, 2020 Dena Jensen
At the January 14, 2020 Whatcom County Council Special Committee of the Whole Meeting, there was “Discussion regarding Whatcom County public health, safety, and justice needs assessment.” The discussion takes place during the first hour of the meeting. Here is a link to the audio: http://whatcom.granicus.com/player/clip/256?view_id=1
As Whatcom County moves forward with the beginning phases of their Public Health and Public Safety Initiative regarding behavioral health services, incarceration, and justice reform needs in Whatcom County — discussed in a September 19, 2019 post here on Noisy Waters Northwest — I thought it would be good for us to have some historical background and a list of materials related to the County’s progress in addressing critical life safety renovations at the existing downtown Whatcom County Jail.
Below is the email I sent to members of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force today regarding that event:
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> Cc: Barry Buchanan <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 01:57:18 PM PDT Subject: Regarding the 9/23/19 Whatcom County Justice Updates event and addressing issues related to trust
Dear Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force Members:
I recently watched the video of the Whatcom County Justice Updates event that was held on Monday, September 23, 2019. I wanted to address the issue of trust that was one of the focuses of the meeting.
Here’s a quick recap of some key information regarding Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo who is seeking reelection this year.
Sheriff Elfo supported Minutemen in 2005
In 2005, Sheriff Bill Elfo affirmed his support of the Minutemen vigilante group, which had formed around that time and was associated with the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. This was in response to publicity about people entering Arizona illegally. That year about 100 Minutemen volunteers were recruited here in Washington State.
I listened to the KGMI recording of the Whatcom Community Justice Forum today. There was a lot of good information presented, however it did seem rather like a giant campaign ad for Sheriff Elfo with a final plug for a new jail thrown in at the end. There was actually less focus on a new jail in the forum, though, than there was when Sheriff Elfo was on KGMI’s Saturday Morning Live radio broadcast last weekend.
County Council Member Rud Browne expressed the sentiment twice at the Whatcom County Council March 12, 2019 regular meeting during the Council committee reports segment near the end of the meeting. One exact quote was: “Yeah, so anyway, anyway, so, I just, 26,000 bucks a door is just a hard pill to swallow.”