I hope this message finds you safe and enjoying the beauty of Bainbridge Island. I am approaching the end of my third year as your Chief and I continue to be grateful for your support, thankful for your expressions of confidence, and exceptionally pleased to be leading this department.
Over the last couple of years, I hired seven new officers to backfill vacancies created by numerous retirements. These new officers are exceptional in the service they provide and complement the department in every way. You may not realize I receive many messages and emails about the performance of officers… numerous notes, cards, home-baked treats and other thoughtful gestures of appreciation are frequently delivered to the station and I am grateful for every single one. Here is just an example of one I received recently:
“Officer Cienega is a real tribute to your department. He quickly sized up the situation and professionally coordinated the efforts to get necessary medical assistance. But what really stood out for my wife and me was the remarkable tenderness Officer Cienega demonstrated in his interactions with the elderly man. We soon learned that the man was …., who lived on the island all his life. Sadly, he died less than a week after his accident. How wonderfully fitting that just before he died he was able to meet with one so kind and caring as Officer Cienega. Please thank him for us.” - Ross and Sharon Boundy
I shared this note because I want my fellow islanders to know that the men and women who protect them are caring and considerate officers who are committed to being the best they can be.
Over the past two and half years, the agency has made significant forward progress. When I arrived in 2013, I found a department that wanted to raise its level of performance and we have made significant progress in that direction ever since. The rank structure has been changed from lieutenants to sergeants, putting us in line with the vast majority of police departments in Washington and our nation, we worked together to develop an updated vision and mission statement, we have a new policy manual, a new training regimen, updated equipment including a LiveScan electronic fingerprinting machine, and established a youth advisory group well into its second year to help us address current issues. Additionally, our own Sergeant Ziemba recently put together a 40 hour CIT training session for Kitsap County supported by the MIDD tax, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself.
We aren’t finished. We are now beginning the rigorous process of state accreditation. I am confident that we will achieve this goal before the end of the year. Only 30% of police departments in the state of Washington meet this standard and I know we can join them.
Every day, I am grateful to be a part of this exceptional community and proud to be leading this exceptional law enforcement agency. You continue to have my full commitment to providing the best possible police service and I thank you for your support in return.
In your service,
Chief of Police