Bellevue has appointed interim police Chief Wendell Shirley as the police department’s new leader.

Shirley has served as the department’s interim chief since August 2021, after Chief Steve Mylett left the position to become police chief in Akron, Ohio. Before that, Shirley had served as Bellevue assistant police chief and spent two decades with the Santa Monica, California, police department.

Shirley is the first person of color to lead the department, city officials said Wednesday in a news release announcing his appointment. He was appointed by City Manager Brad Miyake, who said Shirley has the leadership skills and dedication needed to be the department leader.

Shirley’s yearly salary is $203,055, city spokesperson Brad Harwood said, and he’ll oversee a department with 184 commissioned officers and 41 noncommission employees.

The Los Angeles native retired as captain from the Santa Monica department in 2019 but came out of retirement to serve as Bellevue’s assistant police chief. He said at the time he thought he could be of value in the department amid a national reckoning over policing that began in 2020, sparked by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.