Donnell Tanksley selected as city’s next police chief

By Jami Makan

The City of Blaine has extended an offer of employment to Donnell Tanksley to serve as the city’s next police chief.

The announcement was made by city manager Michael Jones on Wednesday, May 15. In a press release, Jones said that he offered the position to Tanksley “subject to a successful completion of a detailed background investigation as is typical for law enforcement hires.”

The announcement stated that Tanksley has accepted the offer and is scheduled to begin his new employment with the city of Blaine on June 24.

Three finalists – Tanksley, Timothy Doney and James Miyashiro – were interviewed by committee of city staff, officials and others on May 9. Four city councilmembers participated in the day of interviews, as well as The Prothman Company, the recruitment firm that has been overseeing the search for a new Blaine police chief. Community organizations and law enforcement agencies also played a role in the interview process.

“I was really pleased with the caliber of the three candidates that we interviewed,” said Jones. “All were highly qualified, but Chief Tanksley excelled in the interviews. His interview combined with his education, experience and references really put him over the top. It was a bonus that he worked in Whatcom County in the past and has connections in the local law enforcement community.”

Mayor Bonnie Onyon also weighed in on the new hire. “Chief Tanksley’s personable, easygoing demeanor came across during the interviews, and I was really impressed by the time he spent researching the community, meeting with business owners and talking with folks on the street,” she said.

According to a candidate bio provided by the city, Tanksley has been chief of police for Portland State University in Oregon since 2017. Prior to that, he was the assistant chief of police for Western Washington University in Bellingham for over three years. Tanksley was with the St. Louis Metropolitan police department in Missouri from 1993 to 2014, and held the position of commander from 2007 to 2014.

Tanksley has associate degrees in human resource management, education and training management and criminal justice, a bachelor’s degree in management from National-Louis University and a master’s degree in management from Fontbonne University.

A contract finalizing salary and other terms of employment is expected to be on the city council agenda for May 28.

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