Sumas PD last to join county’s centralized 911 callout system

SUMAS — The Sumas Police Department is joining the rest of the police agencies in Whatcom County as the final one to join What-Comm, the county’s central 911 dispatching system.

The move to What-Comm means all county law enforcement agencies will be dispatched by the same 911 call center and will put Sumas PD on the same radio frequency as the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Everson Police, Lynden Police and others. 

It also allows Sumas officers to fully utilize the Computer Aided Dispatching program called Versaterm that’s located on computers in their patrol cars.

Sumas PD, like Lynden and Blaine, had used the U.S. Border Patrol for call-taking and dispatch services for several decades.

“Now we’ll have the opportunity to join the rest of the agencies,” Sumas Mayor Kyle Christensen said. “Our officers will all be tied into the same system. It’s a benefit for our officers and neighboring agencies as well.”

The official start date is still to be determined, but Sumas Police Chief Daniel DeBruin said he expects it to be sometime in mid- to late September 2019. Some final radio frequency issues are being worked out on What-Comm’s end before Sumas can join.

“This gives officers a much greater capability to see information on calls that they are dispatched to, and provides a direct link to dispatchers and all other officers/deputies working in the county,” DeBruin said in an email. “It greatly increases interoperability, as well as officer’s situational awareness when going on calls for service and sharing of law enforcement information.”

DeBruin said he’s thankful for the services the Border Patrol offered the Sumas Police Department and community over the past years, and a good working relationship with the Border Patrol will continue.

“As a border town agency, we will continue to have radio communications with U.S. Border Patrol agents,” DeBruin said. “Our agencies rely on each other’s personnel for the safety of officers and community members.”

Eric Trent covers sports for the Lynden Tribune.