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Ferndale Police Chief Michael Knapp. Photo courtesy of Michael Knapp

Former Police Chief Knapp succumbs to injuries after being hit crossing a Lynden street

Last Updated on March 22, 2021 at 10:17am

FERNDALE, Wash. — Officials at Harborview Medical Center announced this afternoon that Michael Knapp, age 79, died today, November 6th, as a result of injuries suffered in a car vs pedestrian collision yesterday in Lynden.

The family is asking for privacy during their time of grieving. They are quoted in a press release from Harborview Medical Center, “Michael was a family man that touched many and will be sorely missed. He offered so much to his family, friends and community. Thank you for allowing us this private time to cherish his memories and life. There will be a celebration of his life at a future date.”

Knapp had served as chief of police in Ferndale from 2005 to 2016. Knapp and his wife, Nancy, remained in Ferndale after his retirement from the FPD and were frequent volunteers and participants in community events.


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Knapp later served in the role of interim chief of police in Blaine and was currently doing so in Lynden.

Mr. Knapp was born and raised in the San Francisco area and is a graduate of San Jose State University and Santa Clara University School of Law. He was appointed a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1971 and was promoted into the Senior Executive Service as the Deputy Chief, Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, FBI Headquarters, Washington, DC, from which he retired in 1997.

He was a former police officer with the Milpitas, California Police Department and a Deputy Sheriff with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Knapp was Chief of Police for the City of Medina, Washington between 1998 and 2003, and was appointed Chief of Police for the City of Ferndale, Washington in September 2005.

Mr. Knapp was a member of the California Bar Association and is a graduate of the 100th Session of the FBI National Academy and the Foreign Service Institute, United States Department of State. He served in the United States Army.

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Chief Knapp served on the board of the Bellingham-Whatcom County Domestic Violence Commission, the Whatcom County Community College Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Whatcom County Medical Examiners Advisory Council, The Northwest Regional Drug Task Force Executive Board, The Boys and Girls Club (Ferndale Branch) Advisory Board, and the Ferndale Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors. He acted as Judge Advocate for American Legion, Post 154 and chaired the Whatcom County Sheriff and Police Chiefs Association.


  1. Steve Martinson Steve Martinson November 6, 2019 at 4:30pm

    So Sorry, Mike was a great guy, always a gentleman and I’m glad to have counted him as a friend. I loved his visits to the store, never knew where our discussions would lead [or how long they’d last] but enjoyed every one of them. We’ve lost a giant [literally and figuratively] and my heart is very heavy right now. God bless Nancy and their family.

  2. Debra CovertBowlds Debra CovertBowlds November 6, 2019 at 4:32pm

    Our condolences to Nancy and family. Chief Knapp was a generous, kind-hearted and compassionate person, and our community will miss him dearly.

  3. Laurie Irwin Laurie Irwin November 6, 2019 at 4:33pm

    What a privilege to have known this man and his wonderful wife. You will be missed Chief!

  4. Sharon Reese Sharon Reese November 6, 2019 at 4:40pm

    Mike was a huge positive influence in the law enforcement profession and to many of us he was a mentor and friend. A gentle man with a reassuring demeanor and commitment to serve with integrity. He was loved and will be greatly missed. Thoughts and prayers to Nancy and family.

  5. Gary J Patterson Gary J Patterson November 6, 2019 at 4:59pm

    Sad to see that one of the best men that I have ever had the pleasure to meet would be gone in such a senseless manner. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and everyone that had the pleasure of knowing this gentle giant. Thank you Michael for all that you have done for myself and others.

  6. Maurita A Scott Maurita A Scott November 6, 2019 at 5:07pm

    My heart felt feelings go out to his family.

  7. Sharon J. Thompson Sharon J. Thompson November 6, 2019 at 5:08pm

    What a loss. Our condolences to Mrs. Knapp and her family.

  8. Mandi Zimin Mandi Zimin November 6, 2019 at 5:13pm

    Chief always will be in my thought and prayers for him and his family. Chief was always very nice to me as a court clerk and citizen. Sad to not say hi at Haggens anymore. So sorry for the family.

  9. Bob Bob November 6, 2019 at 5:25pm

    Michael was the nicest person you would ever know. My love to Nancy and the family.

  10. Yvonne Goldsmith Yvonne Goldsmith November 6, 2019 at 5:45pm

    Chief Knapp “lived and loved and laughed and our lives will never be the same”. (James Joyce) Each one of us in Whatcom County whom had the honor and privilege to know Chief Knapp was blessed by his gift of friendship. He had a servant’s heart, a servant’s way to all and a servant’s hands. Our deepest condolences to Nancy and the family. Gene and Yvonne Goldsmith

  11. Melvin Hanseni Melvin Hanseni November 6, 2019 at 6:28pm

    I am devastated

  12. Cheryl Cheryl November 6, 2019 at 7:46pm

    We are so sorry to read this news and will be praying for your family. This is so very sad.

  13. Holle Holle November 6, 2019 at 8:25pm

    I’m so sorry for the loss praying for the family ❤️

  14. linnstercrafts linnstercrafts November 6, 2019 at 8:46pm

    This is extremely sad news for all affected. 🙁

    Linnea McCormack

  15. Anthony and Christina Andrews Anthony and Christina Andrews November 6, 2019 at 9:37pm

    Tony & Tina Andrews
    Met Chief Michael Knapp as he was acting Chief of Police in Blaine. We interacted with him from day one. He was such an amazing person. We had many laughs together and felt so comfortable every time he visited us.Tina and I will really miss him. We will cherish our memories of this wonderful man. Our love to Nancy and little Anthony and family.

  16. STEPHANIE WALLACH STEPHANIE WALLACH November 6, 2019 at 10:00pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Chief Knapp. I used to visit him at the Medina Police Department and we’d just sit around chatting and comparing career stories. My sincerest condolences go out to his family.

  17. stacy malone miller stacy malone miller November 7, 2019 at 2:07am

    What a great man. He dedicated his life to public service. It was a privilege to work with him. Sending love and prayers to his wife and family. Our community is missing a hero.

  18. Bruce Mooney Bruce Mooney November 7, 2019 at 7:28am

    Many good memories of Chief Knapp and his outstanding life. I consider it a privilege and honor to have known such a great man.

  19. Susan Cole Susan Cole November 7, 2019 at 9:14am

    Ferndale feels emptier today without Chief Knapp in it. He was such a huge part of our community, and will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace my friend.

  20. Linda Barsalou Linda Barsalou November 8, 2019 at 10:18am

    I am so honored to have known this amazing man and very sad to hear of his passing. I am a better person for the time he shared with me.

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