VAN Spotlight: Marjorie Trachtman, Bellevue Police Department

Marjorie Trachtman, Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Bellevue Police Department

Marjorie Trachtman, Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Bellevue Police Department

Describe the mission, services and programs of BPD:

The Bellevue Police Department’s mission is “to provide a safe place to live, work and visit through quality law enforcement. We are committed to serving the public with respect, accountability and integrity.”

How does BPD engage volunteers?

Our volunteer program, Citizens and Police in Partnership, engages citizens in a wide range of assignments designed to free up sworn and professional staff so they can focus on specialized law enforcement functions. It also provides opportunities to build positive working relationships between the Department and the citizens it serves.

How did you come into the field of volunteer engagement? 

I came to this profession quite by accident. I had a successful career in marketing and communications in the private sector but felt the need to make a change, though I had no idea what that change should be. I quit the job I had at the time, took a year off and did temp and part time work to give myself time to decide what I wanted to do. Then I saw an ad in the newspaper for someone to develop a volunteer program for the Bellevue Police Department. That certainly met the “different from what I’d been doing” criteria so mostly on a whim, I applied for the position. That was almost 21 years ago.

What are some of the successes and challenges you have had engaging volunteers?

The greatest success has been watching the evolution of citizen volunteer engagement in the law enforcement sector. Back in 1994, bringing civilians inside an LE agency as volunteers was almost unheard of. Bellevue’s program was one of the earliest and is now a national benchmark program. I also saw the same evolution mirrored within our own department. At first, officers were highly skeptical and resistant. Today our volunteers are truly part of our Police family and I’ve seen wonderful, lasting friendships develop among staff and volunteers. The effort it took to achieve that success would account for the greatest challenge.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change and why?

I would wish for people to be kinder to each other, and to spend half as much time worrying about the way they live their own lives as they do about the way everyone else lives theirs.

What is the most interesting item in your closet?

My closets are pretty boring. Years ago I went through a period where I moved about every 6 months over the course of 5 years so I got in the habit of lean living and not hanging on to nonessential stuff, a practice I follow to this day.


Please RSVP to Marjorie for next Thursday’s Professional Gathering, “What Makes a Volunteer Great?”, at Bellevue City Hall

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