The latter portion of this post contains the more detailed remarks, which included the statement in the graphic on this post, that were made at the 12/15/22 Justice Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting by the Director of Whatcom County’s Public Defender’s Office Starck Follis.
Included in this post are some important points to consider regarding questions and input for the Whatcom County Justice Project (jail and services) Town Hall Listening Session on November 15th at 6:00pm. Click here to join via Zoom or attend in person at 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225.
I spent the time-changed hour “early” that I woke up today thinking about moldy kitchen and bathroom ceilings in the Whatcom County Jail, and encampment sweeps happening in Bellingham when our one 24/7 emergency shelter in the County is full. I thought about how legal codes and laws are being broken by officials month after month and year after year.
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: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: Barry Buchanan <email@example.com> 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.