Birch Bay, there’s a new deputy in town. In January, Mike King accepted a new assignment with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s office and transferred his Birch Bay role to deputy Todd Damon. Prior to relocating, Damon served as a sheriff’s deputy in Newhalem and Maple Falls. Weeks into his new role, Damon sat down with The Northern Light to talk about his intentions for the future.
What brought you to Whatcom County?
I’m originally from the Lynnwood area. I came up here when I got out of the military and went to Whatcom Community College.
Please describe your experience with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
I’ve been with the sheriff’s office since 1998 – 17 of those years have been on patrol. I worked in the Whatcom County Jail for about a year and a half before I worked on patrol.
How many officers are assigned to patrol Birch Bay?
We have just the one position, the Birch Bay neighborhood deputy. That’s me all the time.
What are the most pressing crime issues impacting Birch Bay lately? Is theft a problem?
We used to have a rash of property crimes on mostly the vacation homes. We’ve cut down on that a lot I think since we’ve had a deputy out full-time in Birch Bay. Before, you’d call 911, get whoever was on that day and then you’d probably never seen that deputy again.
As a neighborhood deputy, are relationships with the community important? If so, how have you fostered those connections?
We found that people are more willing to contact you and tell you about things when they see the same face all the time – it’s a person, not just the sheriff’s office. I tell people that when communities successfully lower their crime rates, it’s because people take ownership of their community.
If they see problems, they try to come together with their neighbors to solve them. I’m one person out of how many thousands of people in Birch Bay? We can’t solve all the problems so we need people, the community, to police itself in some respects.
In my past position, I was on the neighborhood email distribution letter. I always include myself on that so I know what is going on. The citizens live there all the time. They know what looks
For a lot of people, their only interaction or experience with a sheriff’s officer or law enforcement is something negative – either they got stopped for a speeding violation or they had a domestic disturbance at their house [for example]. For many people, their interaction unfortunately is only negative. They don’t get to see the good side of law enforcement, so we try to interact with people.
When is the right time to call you, versus 911?
If you think you should call 911, you should probably call. That’s how it is. If it doesn’t turn out to be an emergency, that’s fine. I give out business cards telling people you can email me, but I always say for non-emergency stuff. I work four days a week. If I’m not in the area, or really available, the 911 call will go out to whoever’s working the area car. Email is really good because I have the computer in my car. I see that regularly. Typically, I’m only checking my voicemail once a day. You have to report it. If you don’t tell us, we don’t know.
Any final comments?
I’m happy to be here. It seems like you guys have a great community and I hope to work together and make it better.
How to contact your neighborhood deputy, Todd Damon: