Bellingham Police Department Rejoins the Whatcom County Drug Task Force

Whatcom gang, drug task force investigation leads to two arrests | News |

Photo courtesy of WCSO

Bellingham Police staff shall dedicate personnel to resume participation in the Whatcom County Drug Task Force (WCDTF).

For the past four years, the Bellingham Police Department (BPD) has not committed manpower to the WCDTF. That’s because 2021 brought cutbacks in police staff driven by a combination of retirements, COVID, and resignations.  Also, in 2020, Bellingham sidelined its special units.  As a result, it ceased bicycle patrols, the drug task force, gang intervention, outreach, behavioral health, and more. That’s all changed, however, as Bellingham has hired 25 officers in the past two years.

Agency partnerships like the WCDTF employ various strategies. That target, disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking. They also reduce the illegal drug supply, seize assets, and bring alleged criminals to justice.

On June 3, the Bellingham City Council voted to recognize opioid drugs like fentanyl as a massive threat to our health, safety and general welfare. They believe that participating in a countywide task force is important because a large number of drug cases are focused on Bellingham.

WCDTF members include police departments in Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden and Sumas; the U.S. Border Patrol; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Washington State Patrol. It’s run by an executive board that includes the Whatcom County sheriff and the chiefs of the Ferndale and Bellingham police departments and the Whatcom County prosecuting attorney.

Since that time, the department has been staffing only their patrol and investigations divisions, the two units that are key to answering 911 calls and solving serious crime.

Bellingham had 128 police officer positions in 2023-24 budget — up from 122 in the previous two-year cycle.

Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Drug Offense or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.