VC: Mentality of a Cop

The screen saver that scrolls along Bremerton K-9 Officer Billy Renfro’s onboard laptop bears a simple message: “I will never stop fighting.”

Renfro, who inherited the slogan from another detective, has been on the force seven years and never complains about the city’s violent crime rate — in fact, it was originally a draw to working here.

“As a young police officer, I wanted to come to a place with more activity,” Renfro said.

And activity, he got: Bremerton’s officers respond to an average of 853 calls per year, according to the department — 100 more than the next closest county jurisdiction.

But in Renfro’s eyes, catching “bad guys” is his primary mission on the job.

“And if you’re coming to work not wanting to catch bad guys, you’re not going to be an effective officer,” Renfro said.

He keeps a positive outlook on the streets, though he admits he is, “a bit disheartened when I have to keep arresting the same guys,” says Renfro, also a believer in increased incarceration for the city’s repeat offenders.

“I think it costs money for the patrol to keep re-arresting the same guys, and of course, it costs the victims,” he said.

A low officer-to-resident ratio in Bremerton is something he’d like to see changed to include more officers, but still, Renfro says cops here are well aware of the circumstances. If he has to go to a scene by himself because others are busy, he has to go.

“There’s occasions where you do have to go, and officers accept that,” Renfro says.

He thinks of his lap top mantra often — that he’ll always fight the criminal element.
“I always believe that when we go to a scene, we’ll deal with it and come out on top,” he said.

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