PSU Chief of Police accepts new position in Washington

Donnell Tanksley, chief of police for Portland State’s Campus Public Safety Office has accepted a new position as chief of police for Blaine City, Wash., starting June 24.

According to The Bellingham Herald, Tanskley was confirmed for this new position May 15.

There has been no announcement to students about Tanksley’s impending departure by PSU’s University Communications.

“I don’t know why PSU hasn’t said anything, because it’s technically public information,” said PSU Student Union member Kaitlyn Dey.

Dey said she had heard rumors of him leaving and confirmed them by searching Tanksley’s name on the internet.

At the May 17 press conference, when asked about CPSO’s ongoing retention and recruitment problem, UComm failed to mention Tanksley. When asked in a follow-up email May 20 about open positions at CPSO, UComm only mentioned the two sergeant and six police officer positions which are currently open.

Acting President Stephen Percy explained that problems with retainment and recruitment could be related to the uncertainty of CPSO at the moment.

Since the March release of the Margolis Healy report, the Board of Trustees has yet to consider implementing any changes recommended by the report.

“I want to try to work and make sure the morale of those folks is there, and we are currently recruiting,” Percy said. “Part of what we can do to help is try to clarify where we’re going in the future, consider the Margolis Healy report, hear from the committees looking at it, get some other input, make a decision…because that uncertainty is obviously something anyone looking at a job [is going to consider].”

Retention and recruitment aren’t just problems faced by CPSO. Portland Police Bureau has an estimated 120 sworn officer vacancies.

“A lot of that probably does have to do with the culture, especially in Portland with all the protests for the most part, police are like ‘oh god, I don’t know if I want to be involved in that,’” Dey said.

“I do see it as a win in the sense that not as many people are thinking they should be cops because it’s not helpful and it’s not a good thing to do and there are other ways we can take care of our community,” Dey added.

Tanksley has been chief of police for CPSO since 2017.