Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force


The purpose of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force is to continually review Whatcom County’s criminal justice and behavioral health programs and make specific recommendations to safely and effectively reduce incarceration of individuals struggling with mental illness and chemical dependency, and minimize jail utilization by pretrial defendants who can safely be released. The Task Force also serves as the Law and Justice Council as required by RCW 72.09.300.


The IPR Task Force meets monthly.  IPR Task Force subcommittees meet at various times throughout the month.  For up-to-date meeting and agenda information, visit the Task Force. Calendar.  

Meetings are open to the public. Community members who attend may provide public comment on issues related to incarceration prevention and reduction efforts in Whatcom County.  

Meetings are held in a hybrid format. Members of the public may attend via Zoom webinar using the join link on the IPR Task Force or committee webpage and on the agenda, or in person at the County Council office located at 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 105. All committee members will participate remotely via Zoom.  


The Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force has 29/30 members.  

The 8 members appointed by the County Council include:

  • Stephen Gockley - Task Force Co-Chair, Health and Social Services
  • Greg Winter, Health and Social Services
  • Jenn Lockwood, Health and Social Services
  • Jason McGill, Health and Social Services
  • Jack Hovenier - Task Force Co-Chair, Consumer of services or family member of consumer
  • Deborah Hawley, Consumer of services or family member of consumer
  • Heather Flaherty, Concerned citizen
  • Arlene Feld, Concerned citizen

In addition, 22 permanent members include:

  • Satpal Sidhu, County Executive 
  • Barry Buchanan, County Councilmember
  • Bill Elfo, County Sheriff/Jail Administrator
  • Eric Richey, Prosecuting Attorney
  • Maia Vanyo, Chief Deputy Public Defender 
  • David Freeman, Superior Court Judge
  • Dave Reynolds, Juvenile Court Administrator/Superior Court Clerk
  • Bruce Van Glubt, District Court Administrator
  • Perry Mowery, Health Department, Human Services Division Supervisor
  • Daniel Hammill, Bellingham City Council Member
  • Seth Fleetwood, Bellingham Mayor
  • Rebecca Mertzig, Bellingham Police Chief 
  • Darlene Peterson, Bellingham Municipal Court Administrator
  • Scott Korthuis, Lynden City Mayor
  • To be determined, Small City Council Member
  • Donnell Tanksley, Small City Police Chief
  • Raylene King, Blaine Court Administrator, Small Cities Municipal Court representative
  • Undesignated, Lummi Business Council Member
  • Undesignated, Nooksack Tribe
  • Undesignated, Peace Health St. Joseph's Medical Center representative 
  • Mike Hilley, Whatcom County EMS Manager, Emergency medical services (EMS) representative
  • Eric Petersen, Representative of the Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections


Term Information

    • 4 year terms, 2 term limit

Additional Information