I’m Donnell ‘Tank’ Tanksley and I’m asking for your vote as Whatcom County’s next sheriff. As Sheriff, I’ll bring trusted leadership, a fresh perspective, and broad and relevant experience to the job. I currently serve as the Blaine Chief of Police, I have over 30 years of Law Enforcement experience in rural and urban areas, and I’m a retired military veteran of 22 years.
I worked my way up through the ranks at the St. Louis, Missouri police department, and served as the Assistant Chief of Police at WWU, and the Chief of Police at Portland State University. Along the way I earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Management. I have extensive training that includes the FBI Executive Leadership Institute, Northwestern University School of Police & Command, and the International City/County Management Association’s High Performance Leadership Academy. I train law enforcement agencies in Fair and Impartial Policing.
Public service is my passion. I serve on local boards such as the Mount Baker Foundation, the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, the Bellingham-Whatcom Commission on Domestic Violence, the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force, the Emergency Management Council, and I’m a proud lifetime member of the American Legion.
This election the voters of Whatcom County have the ability to change the direction of the Sheriff’s Office and bring trust, accountability, and a new perspective to the job. Throughout my career, I have focused on reducing and preventing crime through a proactive community-focused approach and breaking the cycle of incarceration and recidivism. As a caring community, we must address homelessness and the need for mental health care. Homelessness and mental health issues are not crimes and should not be treated as such. We cannot arrest our way out of the situation. We need to divert where appropriate while maintaining public safety and quality of life. By expanding reentry support, and services for those incarcerated, we can make sure people have the resources they need to find stable housing. We should have a balance of accountability, treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
We have to do better at reducing dangerous drugs like fentanyl in our community. Too many people are dying and this community deserves a renewed focus on safety.
While in the military, I was a first responder to Hurricane Katrina and one of my biggest lessons was the importance of emergency preparation. The Sheriff oversees emergency response in Whatcom County and whether it’s a flood or an earthquake, a fast and well-coordinated response matters. We need to be prepared, stay on top of weather reports, and respond quickly. My team will have the support and preparation they need to be ready to help on day one.
My endorsements include Congressman Rick Larsen, State Senators Sharon Shewmake, Liz Lovelett, Snohomish County Sheriff (Ret.), Senator John Lovick, State Representatives Alicia Rule, Joe Timmons, Debra Lekanoff, and Alex Ramel, Blaine Mayor Mary Lou Steward, All
members of the Blaine & Bellingham City Councils, County Executive Satpal Sidhu, and County Treasurer Steve Oliver.
Organizational endorsements include the Whatcom Democrats, VoteVets, Planned Parenthood, Pro Choice Washington, Ironworkers Local 86 Union, Machinists 751 Union, WA Education Association Union, Retired Public Employees Council, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund, Nooksack Tribe, and Lummi Nation.
For more information, please visit https://www.tankforsheriff.com
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