At least it’s creative
Early last week, Officer Derek Ejde was dispatched to a residence in East Bremerton for a violation of a court-issued order for protection.
We have responded to nine — count ‘em, nine — separate reports of this violation by this person since March of last year. All were reported from the same address and all involved domestic violence against this man’s mother.
Officer Allan McComas had served the man with a new court order earlier in the day, and the man’s response to this judge’s order was to return to the residence and violate the order.
Officer Ejde quickly arrested the man, and asked for his name. The man gave the name John R. Freedom. The officer saw through this diabolical subterfuge and took him to jail for the umpteenth time, charged with the order violation and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
As the officer noted, however, “John R. Freedom” was one of the better false names we have been given in some time.
Following the predictable route
Later in the week, a man went to the emergency room for treatment. His girlfriend showed up a short time later to provide emotional support. While in the exam room, the girlfriend picked up the man’s phone and began to look through it.
You can likely predict where this is going.
Yes, there were inappropriate photos on the phone — of someone else. This caused the girlfriend to become somewhat upset. Within a short time, the man’s IV had been removed and the woman was striking the man repeatedly, all while in the ER exam room. The man then “discharged” himself and left the hospital.
When Officers arrived the girlfriend was not in the mood to be cooperative. Charges are pending.
Here’s a recipe for de-
Here is another example of the type of volatile calls to which our officers respond.
Late last week, there was an “all hands on deck” priority incident where numerous calls came into 911 reporting a large fight involving a knife. Officers arrived to a chaotic scene with none of the participants following lawful orders to stop what they were doing.
When enough officers arrived, we were able to detain the two most boisterous participants and speak to everyone else. Turns out it was a large family dispute that started out as a verbal argument between one of the family’s adult daughters and her husband. The dispute spilled outside into the street and the patriarch of the family stepped in the middle of it.
As we were investigating the incident, several more family members who had been called on cell phones started showing up. As the Sergeant noted, “all officers on scene maintained their composure and by a thorough explanation of our obligations under the law, mixed in with a dash of professionalism and a pinch of courtesy, we were able to prevent any further drama.”
He noted that the officers even got a few “thank yous,” even though one member of the family had to be arrested.
The current public narrative is that officers don’t know how to de-escalate; the truth is we do it all day, every day.
Quick action saves life
Officer Michelle Griesheimer likely saved a life this week when officers were called to an east side residence for a person attempting to hang themselves. The caller was a family member who left the house to call 911.
As officers approached the house, Officer Griesheimer heard choking sounds from inside the garage. She and others raced inside to find the man on the floor, with a strap around his neck that had been fastened to a ceiling rafter.
He was treated and taken into protective custody against his wishes, and transported to the hospital for an evaluation.
Families are in our thoughts
This past weekend law enforcement officers from our area responded to a triple homicide near Seabeck, an officer involved shooting in the south end of the county, a deceased person who was found here in our city and many attended the funeral for Firefighter Jimmy Hendryx from the Bremerton Fire Deparment.
The families affected by all of these events are in our thoughts this week.
More complex and challenging every day
Meanwhile, officers in the King County area were trying to balance the right to protest with protection of private property and the rule of law. As controversy and strong feelings about changes coming from the new presidential administration ramp up, once again law enforcement officers are in the middle of it.
Meanwhile, we are simultaneously handling the high-profile cases and ongoing issues with people suffering from mental illness.
I mention this just to set the context and let you know again that this profession gets more complex and challenging every day. Please keep our officers, deputies, firefighters, emergency communicators and emergency medical providers in your thoughts this week. Let’s also hope for a quieter week.
Steven Strachan is the Bremerton Chief of Police.