Tanksley gives sheriff’s office update to city council


Whatcom County Sheriff Donnell Tanksley gave Blaine City Council updates from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), including that opioid deaths were trending downward, during the May 28 meeting.

In 2023, there were 130 opioid related deaths in Whatcom County. In 2024, there have been 44 opioid-related deaths, Tanksley told councilmembers.

“One death is too many but compared to 2023, it’s substantially lower percentage-wise than we were,” Tanksley said. “I think it’s great that we’re reducing that number but where we want to be is zero.”

Tanksley said the WCSO drug task force has remained busy. So far this year, WCSO has seized 10,000 fentanyl pills, over 17,000 grams of fentanyl powder, 1,300 grams of methamphetamine and over 43 grams of cocaine.

Crimes have been decreasing the past two years, except for vehicle collisions. Stolen vehicle and vehicle prowl reports have both decreased 50 percent compared to 2023, Tanksley said.

The number of incident reports WCSO deputies have taken, which don’t necessarily mean a crime has been committed, are slightly below where they were in 2023.

In 2022, WCSO had 36,266 reported incidents in which deputies took reports, and those increased 8.5 percent to just under 40,000 in 2023. Year-to-date, the WCSO has taken just over 17,000 incident reports.

“If you look at the numbers, we’re tracking a little bit below 2023. However, in the summer, calls for service tend to go up,” Tanksley said.


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