Category Archives: Bremerton police

SOLVED: The mystery of the missing fire hydrant

Photo by Kim Demko.

If you’ve spent time at Pendergast’s “Bark Park,” you know about the charming fire hydrant to which countless visiting dogs have, shall we say, laid territorial claims. 

That is, until early last week, when the hydrant mysteriously disappeared.

The old hydrant.

Kim Demko, a frequent visitor to the park with her dog, was saddened to find it gone. The hydrant was the only permanent “ornament” at the park, one she was told might be one day incorporated into a water system should one be installed there.

“It was also a friendly confirmation that you had actually arrived at the location of the dog park,” she told me. 

I had to wonder: who steals a fire hydrant? The thing weighs about 500 pounds, so whoever did it came prepared. Demko circulated word on Facebook about the theft. I inquired with the police department.

As it turns out, it was no thief at all — just its original owner bringing it out of retirement. Bremerton Public Works crews snagged it to take some parts and repair a hydrant damaged in a crash Sept. 2 at Almira Drive and Sylvan Way on the east side.

“It was the only one left that we had,” said Bremerton Public Works Administration Manager Milenka Hawkins-Bates.

And there’s good news for dog park users: the city was able to place another hydrant out at the park Wednesday. Its artful design (above, at the top of the page) was painted by Darrell Clauson, a lead in public works’ wastewater and stormwater division.

Oh, and lest I forget, some improvements are coming to the bark park. I’ll have more on that in an upcoming story in the Kitsap Sun.

COUNCIL SCORECARD: Police promotions and LED lights


The street lights will stay on in Bremerton, and, city officials hope, they’ll save some money too. At a brisk meeting Wednesday night, the Bremerton City Council approved the retrofit of 531 street lights with LED technology, meaning they’ll last longer and require less maintenance.

The cost: $268,000. A state grant and a rebate from Puget Sound Energy drops the cost to the city to $140,000, which officials say will pay for itself in six years. The $194,000 installation cost will be paid to the Consolidated Electrical Distribution company, which has a Bremerton location.

You might remember the demonstration project on Dr. ML King Way that spurred the latest purchase, one spearheaded by Public Works Director Chal Martin. There are a total of 1,619 street lamps in the city, so many will still be of the traditional variety.

Also at Wednesday’s City Council meeting:

Lt. Mike Davis is sworn in by Bremerton Judge James Docter.
Lt. Mike Davis is sworn in by Bremerton Judge James Docter.

Sworn officers: Bremerton’s newest lieutenant, Mike Davis, was sworn into office Wednesday night. Davis, who grew up in Kitsap County, became a Bremerton officer in 1998; he’s trained fellow officers, instructed on defensive tactics, been a detective and K-9 officer and, more recently, was promoted to sergeant.

Put simply, Davis has been an integral part of criminal cases that jolted the community conscience — murders, assaults, the Arnold’s Fire and the killing of Buddy the police dog. Police Chief Steve Strachan read an email from retired Bremerton Police Sgt. Bill Endicott at the meeting, who said Davis would provide the “professional, ethical, and moral” tutelage for a new generation of officers.

Three sergeants — Tim Garrity, Aaron Elton and Keith Sargent — were promoted Wednesday. (And, as Strachan pointed out, that means the city now has a Sergeant Sargent.)

From left to right: new sergeants Aaron Elton, Keith Sargent and Tim Garrity are sworn in.

Also on Wednesday, Officer Jeff Schaefer was promoted to corporal (for background on the position, click here). Former Poulsbo Officer Jennifer Corn and former Bainbridge Island Officer Mike Tovar were sworn-in as new officers in Bremerton as well.

Chromium-6: Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent addressed new fears that the chemical has been found in unsafe levels in most every state in the country. She claimed Bremerton’s drinking water is well under federal limits. “We have a much lower (level) than current standards,” she said. To see the city’s water quality, click here.

Public Works Turmoil: Councilman Greg Wheeler talked about the investigations that led to discipline among personnel in the Public Works Department during his report. He said the Council learned of the investigations because the Kitsap Sun was set to publish a story, and that, though he’s the chairman of the City Council’s Public Works Committee, the situation was appropriately handled by Lent and the city’s administration.

He did add he was “very concerned about the morale of the city staff and our employees” and that he hoped to see more “communication and trust” being built. “This change starts at the top,” he said.

Beautify Bremerton: The annual city “Beautify Bremerton” day is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Residents here, as well as landlords, can take all yard waste free of charge to a disposal site near Legion Field off Sheridan Road. There’s also an army of volunteers and workers that will clean up parks and plazas around the city, including the Pat Carey Vista, Madrona Trails and medians near the Navy’s Farragut gate off Charleston Boulevard.

To see the full minutes and agenda of the City Council meeting, click here.

Who let the dogs out? Street fair to take over Fourth Street

In this April 23, 2013 photo, Dusty is the Bremerton, Wash. Police Department's new drug sniffing dog. The Bremerton Police Department, following in the footsteps of many law enforcement agencies around the state, is not training its newest officer how to sniff out marijuana. Months after voters approved an initiative legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, Dusty is the first narcotics dog in Kitsap with the distinction. (AP Photo/Kitsap Sun, Meegan M. Reid)
K9 Dusty will be downtown Saturday, along with many of his colleagues. Photo by Meegan M. Reid.

Dog lovers are in for a treat downtown on Saturday. A veritable who’s who of Kitsap’s police K9s will trot onto Fourth Street and put on a show. The road will be shut down and merchants up and down the block will be joining in the celebration, from 12-5 p.m.

The all-ages street fair is a joint effort of the Horse & Cow Pub & Grill and a California organization called the Gavin Buchanan Memorial Foundation. As a 5-year-old, young Gavin donated his piggy bank to help police dogs be better protected with vests and equipment. But sadly, the boy was killed in a terrible case of domestic violence in Benicia, California only eight days after his eighth birthday in 2015.

As you might know, the Horse & Cow once had a location in Vallejo, close to the site of an old Navy base. The Buchanan family goes way back with the Horse & Cow and owner Mike Looby, and Gavin’s uncle Brett Miller lives in Port Orchard.

The event will help raise money for K9s right here in Kitsap, with demonstrations by dogs and their handlers from the Bremerton Police Department, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol.

It’s gearing up to be quite a weekend in Bremerton, with Manette Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the same day.



Bremerton cop inadvertently stomps flower … then replaces it

The new Iris.

Law enforcement can get messy sometimes. Such was the case Wednesday, as officers converged on the house of a man suffering a mental health crisis in West Bremerton. As officers surrounded the place, a sergeant, Randy Plumb, inadvertently stepped on an Iris in the neighbor’s yard.

“The very nice neighbor expressed great thankfulness we were there doing our job, but also expressed her displeasure in the sergeant stepping on her plants,” Plumb wrote in his report of the incident.

Be sure to note that Sgt. Plumb referred to himself in the third person, which Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan believes might have been to “create a distance from personal responsibility.” (If it isn’t obvious, the chief has a good sense of humor.) 

Plumb did indeed take personal responsibility, however. Following “much grief” from colleagues there, he drove to Bremerton City Nursery and purchased a brand new, fully grown Iris for the neighbor, Jen Budis.

“When the Sergeant explained the circumstances to the nursery employee, they laughed and insisted on giving him a discount,” Strachan said.  “With his tail between his legs, Sgt. Plumb responded back to the neighbor’s house, offered an apology, and presented the new iris plant.”

And Budis’ response? She took to Facebook to share it. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 9.45.06 AM

And, more good news: Bremerton police, with help of deputies from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, were able to help the man in crisis out of his home and the situation was resolved safely.

The new Iris, too, is reportedly doing well.  

Bremerton brings back the corporal

The Bremerton Police Department is adding a new rank — corporal — in between officer and sergeant. Seven men were promoted to that position Wednesday: Aaron Elton Tim Garrity; Steven Polonsky; Todd Byers, James D. Miller; Dahle Roessel and Rodney Rauback.

Next time you get stopped by a Bremerton police officer, take note of those stripes you see on his or her sleeve. 

OK, so that might not be the first thing on your mind if you’re being pulled over. But the sleeve can tell you a lot about an officer’s rank.

In Bremerton, it’s becoming a bit more nuanced. An officer who makes the rank of sergeant has three blue “stripes” on the arm (see photo below). But here in the city, you’ll soon see seven officers who have two stripes (see photo above).

Those seven are the department’s first corporals, a position that is roughly between an officer and a sergeant. The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office actually did away with the position years ago but Bremerton is bringing them back.

The reason, Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan explained at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, was born out of a top-to-bottom review of the police department completed three years ago.

That review found flaws in the former “MPO” or “Master Patrol Officer” program, whose participants could cover for sergeants to run the shift. The review also found that not many officers were looking to get into management roles, Strachan said Wednesday.

Strachan is hopeful the new rank not only introduces the seven corporals to leadership roles but that it it inspires them to go even higher.

These will be the leaders of the department long after folks like me are gone,” Strachan told the Council.

The department is also bringing back a third lieutenant position — the next step up from a sergeant —  which had been the victim of budget cuts a few years ago.

There’s a lot of open positions right now in the police department. Lt. Pete Fisher left to be chief of the Fife Police Department, so they’ll have to fill two lieutenant spots. And the city held a retirement ceremony Wednesday for Randy Olson, a longtime sergeant and officer who’d been with the city since 1988.

“Part of me will always be a Bremerton police officer,” Olson told the Council.

Sergeant Randy Olson (left) is congratulated by Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan.
Sergeant Randy Olson (left) is congratulated by Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan. Note Olson’s three stripes.

Bremerton police lieutenant takes job as Fife chief

Lt. Pete Fisher.

Bremerton Police Lt. Pete Fisher, who was often the face of the department in times of crisis in the past decade, is set to become the police chief of Fife. 

Chief Steve Strachan announced the news in a department email this week.

“That is a loss for us but a great selection by Fife,” Strachan wrote. “Pete is a very talented leader and we have been fortunate to work with him.”

Fisher, 44, started as a line officer in Bremerton in 1998. He made sergeant in 2004 and lieutenant in 2006, where he’s remained. The job includes a lot of administrative work, including making shift schedules, conducting serious collision investigations and performing disciplinary reviews. Fisher also served as liaison to Redflex, the company that runs the city’s red light photo enforcement cameras.

“This has been a great city to work for,” Fisher said Friday. “I’ve had a lot of support and mentorship here. It’s given me the drive to want to become a chief. And I’m at the point in my career where I’m ready to try the next challenge.”

Fisher, a New Hampshire native, spent four years in the Air Force before moving to Puget Sound with his wife Christine, who was in the Army and got stationed at Fort Lewis. He started as a reserve officer in Ruston in 1994.

Fisher’s duties as public information officer found him in the media spotlight on a few occasions, particularly during the hunt for a possible serial killer and the shooting of a third grader at Armin Jahr Elementary in 2012 (police have since found that the two fatal stabbings are likely not related).

Fisher said he learned the importance of “being able to put out a clear message to people.” He also praised Strachan, saying he’s learned a lot from his boss that he thinks he can apply in Fife.

Fisher will head a department that includes more than 33 police officers. He’ll also oversee its 34-bed municipal jail and its 12 corrections officers.

 Bremerton police will promote a sergeant to fill Fisher’s position. 

COUNCIL SCORE CARD: A new cop and a new president

In case you missed it, here’s three highlights from Wednesday night’s city council meeting, the first of the year. 


New cop on the beat

Derek Ejde was sworn in as the city’s newest police officer (pictured). The North Kitsap High School graduate’s brother Jordan is already a Bremerton officer, and their father, Andrew Ejde, was a longtime Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy. I did a story on the brothers in November, which you can read here.


New Council president

Councilman Greg Wheeler had been president for two three years. But on Wednesday night, he nominated Councilman Eric Younger for the job, and the vote was unanimous. Councilman Dino Davis was sworn in as the Council’s vice president.

What does it mean to be the Council’s president? The president, it goes without saying, is the Council’s leader — he or she runs the meetings, appoints members to committees and monitors and approves business on the Council’s agenda.

“I certainly have big shoes to fill,” Younger said of his predecessor.

Wheeler, who retired from the shipyard this past year, is contemplating a run for mayor in 2017. Mayor Patty Lent said she intends to run, setting up a possible showdown between the two for the city’s top job.

Spyglass Hill.
Spyglass Hill.

Developing stories

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent presented a laundry list of projects occurring around Bremerton in 2016, including the new Chung’s Teriyaki restaurant, Spyglass Hill apartments, Carl’s Jr. restaurant and several others. She mentioned that Bremerton’s community development department issued a record 683 permits worth $81 million in projects in the city in 2015. She also noted that 40 of the 71 units of the new 606 Apartments in downtown Bremerton have been rented.

Lent also predicted she’d work well with the Council in 2016.

“We’re going to be in stride and marching to the same drumbeat,” she said.

She also introduced interim Bremerton Parks Director Jeff Elevado. Elevado, who replaces a retired Wyn Birkenthal, has been with the parks department in 1981.

“We do have our challenges, but we find ways to get things done,” Elevado said.

Bremerton Beat Blast: 5 things to know happening in Bremerton this week

Stories featured this week:

1. This Bremerton theater is under contract with a local developer
2. Detectives investigate a murder in East Bremerton
3. The 2-year election battle shaping up
4. Is the ferry terminal’s door broken again?
5. Which Bremerton landmark has a birthday today?

Please let me know what you think! Suggestions welcomed at

Roxy today, Roxy yesterday. Photo by Meegan M. Reid.
Roxy today, Roxy yesterday. Photo by Meegan M. Reid.

Police investigating East Bremerton business break-ins

Some of the break-ins have occurred on East 11th Street in Manette.
Some of the break-ins have occurred on East 11th Street in Manette.

A number of break-ins to businesses have been reported in East Bremerton in recent weeks. Bremerton Police Sgt. Rich Cronk told me that the burglaries remain under investigation and police are hoping to find the culprits.

The recent burglaries are:

Sunny Teriyaki, 1221 Wheaton Way: A window was broken out Oct. 15 and money was taken from a tip jar. Two cash registers were damaged.

Andy and Cindy’s Diner, 3561 Wheaton Way: Suspects got inside sometime between Oct. 16-17 and took a laptop, cash and a power cord.

State Farm, 1100 Wheaton Way: A window was broken out Oct. 26. Nothing was reported stolen.

Two Sisters Fine Jewelry, 1100 Wheaton Way: A window was broken out and jewelry was taken sometime before 9 a.m. Oct. 26.

Bicycle Works, 2109 E. 11th Street: A door was forced open and a bike was stolen. The burglary was reported the morning of Oct. 27.

If you have any information as to who is responsible, police encourage you to call 911.

The legalities of bridge jumping in Bremerton


A video circulated Facebook recently showing a man climbing atop a piling on the Manette Bridge and then plunging into the chilly waters below. His jump, viewed more than 14,000 times, occurred not far from the Boat Shed restaurant, at a point on the bridge that is lower to the water and close to the shore.

Upon seeing the clip, some of you wrote me asking if there’s anything stopping thrill seekers and others from doing the same thing. The answer is that in the eyes of the city, it is considered “mischief on bridges” — it goes for the Warren Avenue Bridge as well — and it is indeed a crime.

I asked assistant Bremerton City Attorney Amanda Harvey, who confirmed to me that such jumps are a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

This, of course, isn’t the first time someone’s jumped from the span. In 2009, a Bothell man told police he did it for the thrill. He was arrested in that case.

But never mind the legalities — there’s also the danger involved. Sadly, many have died or been injured jumping off the spans.