Support the police, and issues raised by Black Lives Matter | BPD Weekly Update

It is worth noting that supporting the police does not have to mean that someone does not support the issues raised by Black Lives Matter and others.

Local hero to the rescue

Last Saturday, we had a very large apartment fire on Wycoff Avenue.

Sgt. Kelly Meade, Corporal J.D. Miler and an off-duty Naval Base Kitsap firefighter were among the first people there, and assisted in alerting the residents and getting everyone out.

A passerby named Kenneth Patterson also assisted. Despite being on crutches, he threw the crutches down, went into the burning apartment and helped get a family out.

Around the same time, a 77-year-old resident on the third floor had the fire rapidly taking over her apartment. Kelly, J.D. and the firefighter all waited below, telling her to jump. She climbed out and they broke her fall, resulting in only a minor injury to her leg.

No one was seriously hurt or killed in this fire, which was likely started by kids playing with sparklers on a living room floor.

Bremerton Fire did a tremendous job knocking this large fire down and keeping it from getting worse. Our veteran officers at the scene said it was possibly the most intense fire they had ever seen.

Reality is almost always more interesting and amazing than fiction, and the quick thinking, heroism and lifesaving actions taken by a group of people in this incident were amazing!

Ditmer doesn’t get a Happy Meal?

To illustrate the variety and challenges of this job, later that same day, Corporal Miller sent along this incident: “Officer Cory Ditmer responded to a call of a 3-year-old boy who was lost, cold and hungry in the area of Cascade Trail and Perry Avenue.

Cory did a great job of taking care of the child, coloring and playing with toys until Child Protective Services could get here to take the child into custody, after the consumption of two Happy Meals (for the child not Cory).”


Our quote of the week comes from Wednesday night, when Officer Jacob Switzer arrested a shoplifter from a West Bremerton convenience store. The man attempted to steal a can of beer. When asked why he took the beer, the man replied, “Why wouldn’t I?” Simple, but profound.

Highlighting the families’ concerns

Last week, KOMO News did a story about how officers’ spouses are dealing with the tension and concern following the violence and ambushes of officers over the last two weeks.

Sarah Plumb spoke very eloquently about these concerns and some of the things families are doing to better deal with it in a very positive way. The story is worth viewing. It is available on KOMO’s website.

We have been receiving homemade cookies, cards and well wishes all week from our community. The show of support is deeply appreciated!

It’s not about choosing sides

It is worth noting that supporting the police does not have to mean that someone does not support the issues raised by Black Lives Matter and others.

We have to be attentive to the fact that this is not about division or “choosing sides,” but about communicating and making everyone safer. Those are not just nice words.

You may have seen in the paper or on local TV news the vigil held last Sunday night following the murders of three more police officers in Baton Rouge. The Bremerton African American Ministerial Alliance organized the meeting, which was to memorialize Black and Blue Lives.

It was a very positive event, and the message was that we support our police, but we also have a healthy and necessary dialogue about concerns in the community. For example, a mom spoke eloquently and passionately about her concerns for the safety of her husband and sons, based on events nationally. She was not specifically aiming any criticism at our department, but at the issue overall.

Bishop Lawrence Robertson of Emmanuel Apostolic Church summarized the issue very well.

“We need to talk about how to get everyone, including police officers, home safe every night.”

That is a great starting point for next steps as we focus on “what now?” nationally.

— Bremerton Police Chief Steven Strachan