January 18, 2018

Archives for October 2011

Dedicated Volunteer “Retires” from WCSO COPS Program

Verna Rawlins, a member of the Sheriff’s Office “Citizens on Patrol” volunteer unit received an award and recognition from Sheriff Bill Elfo and many grateful staff members of the Sheriff’s Office.  Verna worked as a senior volunteer with the Sheriff’s Office for six years and will be greatly missed by everyone here.

Sergeant Steve Gatterman, who coordinated the WCSO Traffic Unit:

Verna started helping with the Traffic Unit about 6 years ago.  During here tenure as a volunteer with the unit she provided administrative support that was critical to the efficient operation of the unit.  She was responsible for reviewing crash reports, and maintaining certification records on our agencies 80+ radar units, and 60+ portable breath test documents.  Her assistance in these areas allowed the Traffic Sergeant to focus on other critical administrative tasks.

 As part of her crash report duties, she would enter important information about the time, location, and causing factors of all reportable crashes on county roadways.  This data was used to identify problem areas that were then targeted for extra patrols.  While her work was done behind the scenes, the information she provided to the Traffic Unit was a key component of a 25% reduction in total crashes between 2005-2010.

 Verna also scanned the reports looking for crashes where county owned property such as road signs and guardrail had been damaged.  This allowed personnel from Whatcom County Public Works to seek reimbursement from the causing drivers.

 Verna was always upbeat and ready to take on any challenge that was given to her.  She will be greatly missed.

Alan Cheesman, WCSO Volunteer Coordinator:

 Verna joined the volunteer program in April 2005. At that time she was also volunteering at Bellingham PD and wanted more work to keep herself busy and give back to the community, so she joined the Sheriff’s Office. She initially started in Records, then Traffic, and then joined COP. She did all three and thoroughly enjoyed it. Verna is a wonderful person, has a great sense of Humor, and very dedicated to her work. She will be missed.

From all of us here at the Sheriff’s Office – THANK YOU VERNA!

Sheriff’s Office coordinates targeted offender round-up and gang enforcement operation.

On Friday October 28 and Saturday Oct 29, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office coordinated an enforcement effort looking for offenders with outstanding warrants.  Sheriff’s Deputies, Department of Homeland Security Investigations Agents, FBI, WA State Dept of Corrections Officers as well as officers from Ferndale and Everson police departments made numerous contacts at offenders residences and at locations where known gang-activity and targeted offenders frequent.  Law Enforcement officers performed “knock and talks” at several locations which produced valuable information and led to additional arrests.

 Approximately 20 officers and agents targeted 30 known offenders at numerous locations throughout Whatcom County. The individuals targeted included habitual offenders, known gang members, registered sex offenders and most have numerous previous bookings into the County Jail.

 Over 20 arrests were made, to include five felony warrants for escape.  Of those, 14 persons were booked into the Whatcom County Jail on 18 warrants and three new charges.  Several individuals were cited and released for driving with a suspended license.  

 A significant amount of stolen property was recovered related to a previously reported burglary of a storage unit inBellingham.  Included in the approx $3000.00 in property was a new dining table and chairs, car parts and sporting equipment.  The property was found in a storage shed at 1942 Trigg Road,Ferndale. During one arrest a complete Customs and Border Protection uniform shirt was recovered.

 This operation was not only initiated to clear up priority warrants on targeted offenders and gang members, but was also intended to focus attention on problem areas, gang activity and those that associate with criminal street gangs.  Officers obtained valuable information pertaining to several active cases and cleared several warrants through information that the subjects were incarcerated in other jurisdictions.

 Sheriff Elfo Said:  “This is another example of the tireless efforts of our deputies and our State, Local and Federal partners to ridWhatcomCountyof criminal gang activity hold offenders accountable and maintain community safety”.

Alert Whatcom Deputies Assist Bellingham Police in Burglary Bust

Congratulations to Deputy Rodger Funk and Sergeant Kevin Moyes, who assisted Bellingham Police in solving a recent burglary that occurred in the City of Bellingham. 

From Bellingham Police Department Public Information Officer Mark Young

For Release: Immediately

 There has been a break in the storage unit burglary in which a Boston Whaler boat and trailer along with some bronze sculptures were stolen. The burglary was reported to Bellingham Police on 10.25.11 after the victims went to their storage locker located on Midway Ln in Bellingham. Several high value articles were stolen. A description of the boat, trailer and sculptures were released to the media on 11.26.11.

On 11.26.11 at around 4:00 p.m, a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputy was responding to a call of a vehicle being driven erratically on private property in the County. The Deputy located the vehicle in question, a black Chevrolet pickup on theSlater Roadoccupied by Zachary K. Hertz.  Hertz appeared to be passed out when the Deputy approached the truck. The Deputy noticed property in the truck and called its owners.  The Deputy learned that the victims had reported the storage unit burglary to Bellingham Police the day before.

The Deputy then called for the Bellingham Officer who took the original report to respond to his location since that officer has the most recent information concerning the burglary.  In the mean time, a Sergeant from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office responded. When the Sergeant saw the truck Hertz was in, he remembered seeing a vehicle matching its description towing a Boston Whaler a few days earlier. Deputies went to the home of the trucks registered owner located in the 1800 block of theHarksell Road. From the road, Deputies could see a Boston Whaler matching the description of the boat stolen. 

A search warrant was served at the residence. The boat and other property listed as stolen were recovered.

Zachary K. Hertz, age 23 was booked into the Whatcom County Jail on unrelated crimes, burglary charges are pending.

This burglary was not random. 



Whatcom County Deputy honored at annual Marine Law Enforcement Conference

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Programs recently honored marine law enforcement officers from around the state for outstanding performance and service.

The 2011 Recreational Boating Safety Law Enforcement awards were presented at the Washington State Marine Law Enforcement Conference held on Oct. 5 at the Thurston County Fair Grounds in Lacey.

State Parks Marine Law Enforcement Specialist Mark Kenny presented selected marine law enforcement officers with plaques for outstanding performance and service.

The Recreational Boating Safety Life Saving Award of the Year was presented to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer Jolynn Beauchene and Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Heinrich.  This award recognizes officers who demonstrated the highest level of professional responsibility, courage and bravery when taking actions to rescue a person or persons involved in a recreational boating activity to prevent injury or death.

Officer Beauchene, while on patrol with Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Heinrich responded to a broadcast for a boater in distress inBoundaryBay, reporting that a crew member was experiencing a heart attack.  This event was further complicated by the vessel having lost power.  The two officers responded immediately and searched the bay to locate the victim, then coordinated the Coast Guard response to provide a rescue swimmer to the vessel. 

Officer Beauchene and Deputy Heinrich brought the victim on board their patrol boat and transported him quickly toBlainefor medical treatment.  It is certain that the quick response and professional actions of Officer Beauchene and Deputy Heinrich resulted in saving the life of the boat passenger.

 “This incident demonstrates the need for trained marine law enforcement personnel on our recreational waters, and highlights the high level of cooperation and teamwork that exists with our local, State and Federal partners who work together closely on a daily basis to protect and serve the public.” 

 Sheriff Bill Elfo

Marijuana Grow Operation Busted on Olson Road

On Thursday, October 13, 2011, the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force (NWRDTF), Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and Customs and Border Protection / I.C.E. served a search warrant on two locations in the 5200 block of Olson Road near Ferndale,Washington.  An investigation had determined that a marijuana growing operation was being conducted at these locations.

The first location was at a non-operational dairy farm.  A large marijuana grow was located in the former milking parlor of the farm.  532 growing marijuana plants and approximately 40 pounds of marijuana “shake” were seized from this location. 

The second location was a residence located next to the dairy farm.  113 live marijuana plants, approximately 35 pounds of dried marijuana and 1 pound of processed marijuana were seized from this residence. 

One adult male (occupant of the residence and listed owner of the dairy farm) was arrested by the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force.  He is identified as Aron C. Hovander, a 36 year old male who lives at5206 Olson Road,Ferndale,WA.  Aron Hovander was arrested on the following charges:

              2 Counts of Manufacturing Marijuana

              Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute

Maintaining a Dwelling for Selling/Keeping a Controlled Substance

 Hovander was booked into the Whatcom County Jail without incident.  A total of 645 marijuana plants were seized from the two grows.  The case number on this investigation is 2011A21411.

 Sheriff Elfo said: The Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with our local,State and Federal partners will continue to aggressively attack and dismantle illicit drug manufacturing operations and arrest those involved in these clandestine activities that threaten harm to our communities.”

Indoor MJ Grow Operation at inactive Dairy Farm