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Sheriff Tanksley already making positive changes

On June 26, our Justice System Committee met with Sheriff Donnell Tanksley for some updates on his work, projects in progress, and hopes for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO). Since coming into the office, Tank has made a number of changes that we’re excited to see, namely: updating office language as an effort toward inclusivity (e.g. changing the name of the “Citizen’s Academy” to “Community Academy”), improving service call response efficiency in the co-responder program, and increasing deputy engagement in Whatcom’s smaller communities. 

Tank also updated the JSC on the status of the new Justice Center Project. He shared that the county reached out to the National Institute of Corrections for help planning the new facility, and emphasized his interest in using data-driven methods to create space for programs and amenities for people held in the new center. Related to the status of the current jail, Tank informed us that he made unannounced visits to the jail multiple times and is concerned about the conditions of the facility, particularly in the kitchen. He is coordinating an inspection of the kitchen with the Health Department and hopes to address mold and general clean up measures. Overall, we are hopeful about these developments and excited to see the changes, perspectives, and energy that Tank is bringing to the Sheriff’s office.