City of Blaine names new police chief


The city of Blaine has extended an employment offer to its next police chief.

Rodger Funk, chief inspector at the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) professional standards office, has been offered the Blaine police chief position, city manager Michael Harmon wrote in a March 20 email to The Northern Light.

Funk has 28 years of law enforcement experience at the WCSO, holding various high-ranking positions within the sheriff’s office. He earned his bachelor’s degree in law and justice and holds a master’s degree in management.

Funk, who grew up in Whatcom County, said it’s been a career goal of his to be a police chief.

“To be able to serve as a chief of police in a Whatcom County agency is a dream come true,” Funk said in a phone call. “I’ve been up there for the past few months getting to know community members and business leaders, and I’m excited to get to know the entire community on a greater level.”

The city of Blaine received 16 applicants from across the U.S., including from within the WCSO and Blaine Police Department. A committee made up of three panels interviewed four finalists and provided the city manager with their recommendation.

“We had a lot of strong interest from all over the country, which is very exciting for the city of Blaine,” Harmon said. “We had a strong candidate pool of both internal and external candidates and ultimately I think any of the finalists would be a good fit for the city. We made a decision based on a number of factors and I think we’ll end up with a good chief.”

Harmon did not provide The Northern Light with the names of the other finalists.

The three panels involved in the hiring process were a panel of three Blaine citizens, a panel of three city of Blaine elected and appointed officials, and a panel of three law enforcement leaders in Whatcom County. Each panel also had one city staff member.

Harmon and mayor Mary Lou Steward selected who would serve on the citizen panel. Among panelists were business owner Sarbie Bains, former mayor Bonnie Onyon, school superintendent Chris Granger, Whatcom County Sheriff Donnell Tanksley, Ferndale police chief Kevin Turner and Western Washington University chief of police Katryne Potts. 

After the majority of the interview team recommended Funk, he underwent a polygraph and psychological examination, which he passed. Harmon will bring an employment contract before city council for consideration and Funk’s start date will be determined once his contract is approved.

Michael Munden, who had been serving as lieutenant of Blaine Police Department, is the interim police chief. Munden said the new chief had asked him to stay with the police department, but Munden’s role within the administration is still being determined. It was announced in a December 2023 council meeting that Munden planned to retire in 2024.

The city of Blaine began hiring for a new police chief after Donnell Tanksley, the former chief, was elected Whatcom County Sheriff last November. 


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