You may have seen one of several news stories last week about a violent assault on one of our officers while he was responding to a call involving a man with mental health issues.
You also may have read last week about a spate of ambushes and assaults on officers all over the country.
Handling a touchy situation with care
Early last week, Officers Derek Ejde, Joe Corey and Corporal Duke Roessel were dispatched to a delusional man sitting on his neighbor’s porch, saying that his parents were dead. After just a few moments, it was clear to the officers that the man was in need of a mental health evaluation.
When it came time to take him into protective custody, he resisted and then started saying he was Jesus.
Officers tried to de-escalate, but the man became more violent and officers had to put him in a wrist lock and take him to the ground, eventually getting control and handcuffing him.
The parents explained that the man suffers from schizophrenia, had been awake for several days and was not taking his medication. He was taken to the hospital.
Spoiler alert: DUI
On Sunday, Officer Trevor Donnelly was at an unrelated call at Sixth and Park when he heard a skidding sound and then a loud crash. Ruh-Roh. A man had driven down Sixth Street with his headlights off, failed to stop at the flashing red light at Park Avenue, then crashed into a car crossing the intersection.
Officer Donnelly had a really good response time, as in immediate, and contacted both drivers, one of whom appeared to be under the influence (spoiler alert — it was the guy who was driving without headlights and ran the flashing red signal).
The driver rousingly and dramatically failed all field sobriety tests and was arrested for DUI. He agreed to a breath test, which indicated an astonishing .37 alcohol content, almost five times the legal limit.
After a stop at the hospital, the man went to jail.
Keep an eye out for an Army flag
We received this email this week from a Bremerton resident:
“I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to you in hopes at a morning brief or email synopsis you could take a moment to mention a very important thought for me.
“While out to dinner this week, someone broke off and stole a United States Army flag from our garage and ripped our American flag.
“I would never consider not flying a flag for my country and a flag for my husband and my heroes. A few months ago, your officers were on my lawn arresting a well-known suspect. One officer noticed the flag and thanked my husband for his service.
“You probably are thinking, ‘Lady we have bigger fish to fry.’ I know you do. However, my husband carried that flag on his deployment. It made it through very heavy combat that not many people made it home from.
“If you could keep an eye out for a splintered flag pole with a white United States Army flag on it, it would mean the world to me. Please know we appreciate the sacrifices you and your team make every day.”
This is an important case to us, and it should be to all of us — please keep an eye out for a United States Army flag, and we can get it returned to this family who has served our country.
Good deeds are appreciated
On a more positive note to restore your faith in humanity, here is a report from Sgt. Keith Sargent from Monday night:
“There really are great people out there: A Bremerton resident was following a dark colored pick-up southbound on Hwy 303 from the area of Wal-Mart.
“He observed the vehicle nearly hit seven other cars. When the driver stopped at the intersection of Riddell Road and Wheaton Way, the resident got out of his car and told the driver to pull into the Chevron Station parking lot, as it was clear there was something wrong.
“He took the driver’s keys and called the police. The resident told 911 that he did not smell any alcohol; however the driver was confused and did not know where he was or where he lived. The driver was an older gentleman. Officers arrived and called for an ambulance.
“It was determined the man is diabetic and had an extremely low blood-sugar reading, to the point he should have been unconscious. The clerk at the Chevron station gave him a candy bar, along with some orange juice and other sugary food to help raise his blood sugar, in addition to the medical treatment provided.
“When both the BPD Officers and the firefighters offered to pay for the items, the clerk refused any type of payment.
“The man’s blood sugar levels came back up after a short time and he was able to drive himself back to his residence nearby.
“By (the first man) taking prompt action, he likely saved the driver and other people on the roadway from a serious collision and injuries. We were also very thankful for the clerk at the Chevron station for their generosity and assistance.”
Thank you, Mr. Bounds, community
Here is a URL to a story of a violent assault on Officer Berntsen last week, and the quick assistance from a bystander: q13fox.com/2016/11/18/bystanders-help-police-officer-being-attacked.
We will be presenting Mr. Bounds, the person who assisted, with a certificate of recognition at the Dec. 7 City Council meeting.
Later in the week, a Bremerton resident stopped in and said that she and her co-workers had seen what happened and they collected food and games to bring in to show the officers their support.
The food, along with other items that had been brought in by our staff, was donated to the New Day Ministries Food Bank, which is run by BPD Chaplain Dave Stewart. We deeply appreciate the support of our community.
Story Walk tour
Last Saturday, over 100 people attended the “Story Walk” to tour our police department. We really appreciated the interest and the opportunity to show what we do.
We received this thank you note from a person who attended:
“Many thanks to you, your officers and the volunteers who put on a very informative and understandable two-and-a-half-hour walking visit of the Bremerton Police Deptartment. Thank you again for all the time and effort your department spent to show us what goes on behind the scenes to keep our city safe.”
Steven Strachan is the Bremerton Chief of Police.