BBRC Meeting Minutes 
Jan 11. 2022
Flag Salute and Invocation by John Purdie
Reflections on why we each joined Rotary
Charitable Giving Committee update by Mark Turner
We received applications from 20 organizations, totalling $41,151. The board authorized $15,000 for this purpose to be split among those applications we chose.  However, John Bosche made a very generous personal donation of $10,000, specifically for the charitable giving committee's small grants. So now we have a total of $25,000 available to give this year. Thank you, John! 
Bucks in the Bay
Mark Turner
Eddie Hansen
Martin Meade
Jeff Clement
Debbie Kiene
Christine Palmerton
Our own Flo Simon gave us  an update on “The State of the Bellingham Police Department”.  Pending her retirement, Flo has has been serving as Bellingham's interim Chief of Police, and she recently agreed to stay on another few months until June of this year, giving the department more time to search for and fill the position of permanent chief of police.  It has been a very difficult two years for the police department: the twin crises of the George Floyd murder fallout, and the pandemic, have hit police departments everywhere very hard.  Here in Bellingham, like many police departments around the country, the staffing level is much lower than it has been in recent years, and the BPD is not able to fill the positions it needs.  There has been less interest recently for young people to consider the police department as a career choice.  A very vocal anti-police minority has been out rallying frequently, but things are beginning to calm down.  As far as staffing, of all the services BPD used to provide, they are currently only maintaining patrol and investigations due to the low staff levels. Everything else has been curtailed.  On the admin side the staffing levels are alright, but for officers they need some 14 new hires. A few candidates are finishing up their training with the expectation of joining the force, but even with them the BPD will still be short-staffed.  BPD recently lost ten officers due to the vaccine mandate (those moved to other Whatcom cities that don’t have a vaccine mandate).  The force now has one “Behavior Health Officer” able to help with certain situations. The City, meanwhile, has an “Alternative Response Team” which can respond to certain mental health situations, but it is far from ideal; those people are simply not trained or equipped to deal with dangerous situations, which happen frequently.
Re. the search for a new chief, PLEASE everyone fill out the online survey "Community Feedback About Police Chief Selection" (on the Engage Bellingham Webpage): 
And now… a Maxine update: Seven years old, calling Flo “mom”, says she wants a career in law enforcement - specifically chief of police. She is a LOT of energy, trying at times, but also super funny and fun. We feel your joy and pain, Flo!  
Thanks for sticking around a few more months as interim chief to see the department through to new leadership. Your retirement will be sweet and well deserved! 
Respectfully submitted,
Stowe Talbot