The Blaine Police Department (BPD) announced the hiring of two new officers who are set to join in the fall after they finish training. The new BPD officers, Travis Campbell and Reagan Ritzer, along with a third candidate yet to be named, will bring the police force to a total of 13 officers.
Campbell and Ritzer have yet to complete their required police academy training; Campbell is slated to attend academy in March, and Ritzer will attend in April. Officers spend 720 hours – roughly six months – at police academy in Burien, which is a requirement for all new officer candidates with no police experience, according to BPD lieutenant Tim Richardson.
Campbell is originally from Pueblo, Colorado, and recently retired after 24 years of service with the U.S. Navy where he was a chief hospital corpsman. Campbell specialized in pulmonary medicine, critical care and emergency medicine, and did three tours in Washington during his time in the Navy, according to a January 16 BPD social media post.
Ritzer hails from Olympia, and moved to Whatcom County four years ago to attend Western Washington University. Ritzer graduated in 2023 with a degree in economics before changing career paths to pursue law enforcement.
“I’m looking forward to serving the community and meeting you all soon,” Ritzer wrote in the BPD post. “I’m happy to be a part of the city of Blaine team.”
BPD hopes to continue adding officers to its staff, with a goal of five more hires in the next few years as the city bounces back from the pandemic, Richardson said.
Richardson told The Northern Light the addition of two new officers will allow for more police presence on the streets of Blaine, while also allowing more scheduling flexibility for the current officers.
“Once we are caught up and fully staffed, officers will have more time and opportunities to be proactive in our community,” Richardson said. “When we are short staffed, it really puts a strain on a small department like ours.”
Richardson said 13 officers is an improvement, but still not where the department would like to be.
“There is more overtime, more stress and less time to interact with our community,” Richardson said. “We want a fully staffed department so we can better serve our citizens and keep Blaine safe.”
For context, the city of Blaine, with a census-designated population of 5,884 and 13 patrol officers, would equate to a ratio of 452 citizens for every patrol officer. In Ferndale, the ratio is 681 citizens to one officer, according to city data. In Lynden, 19 officers policing 15,749 people equates to an 828 to one citizen-to-officer ratio.
The city of Bellingham has 68 patrol officers according to its 2024 adopted budget, policing a population of roughly 91,000 people. The citizen-to-officer ratio is 1,338 to one.
Blaine also is home to multiple federal authorities such as Customs and Border Protection, due to the city’s proximity to the international border.
“We want our officers to engage with citizens and business owners to build up those relationships,” Richardson said. “We take pride in the level of service that we give the people of Blaine. We want to continue growing with the city and providing more services for everyone’s safety.”
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