Meet the Department

Chief's Message

Fellow Islanders,

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.

ver 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, 
Matthew Hamner
The chief of police and the deputy chief of police are responsible for strategic planning, organizing and directing department operations, working with the city manager, city council and citizens to ensure peace and public safety. The chief of police and deputy chief also serve as media contacts, initiate and supervise community outreach events, represent the department at community functions, and work with community groups to shape a collective vision of policing.  They also maintain intergovernmental relationships with other regional law enforcement agencies, fire and first responders, homeland security, the US Coast Guard, and the Washington State Department of Transportation.


Our patrol division consists of two sergeants and thirteen patrol officers. Patrol officers respond to calls for service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the Bainbridge Island community, maintaining peace and  order by protecting life and property through impartial enforcement of federal, state and local laws. Officers address criminal activity, conduct traffic collision investigations, direct traffic in congested areas and during emergency situations, identify and eliminate safety hazards, serve search and arrest warrants, issue traffic citations and infractions, and investigate crime scenes.  Patrol officers generally perform their duties using police vehicles, but also conduct walking beats, utilize police bicycles for patrolling congested areas and parks, and have two fully equipped police motorcycles at their disposal.


Our investigations unit is comprised of one detective sergeant and two detectives.  Detectives investigate major crimes occurring in the community and perform follow-up investigations on cases initially handled by patrol officers with regard to property crimes and crimes against persons. Detectives also interview suspects and victims, take witness statements, collect and process crime scene evidence, and testify in court.  Additionally, detectives conduct background investigations of applicants, represent the department at local meetings and committees, and fill in for patrol during shift shortages.


In association with the Public Water Access Committee, the harbormaster organizes, coordinates and directs activities related to the use, operation, security, maintenance and improvement of Bainbridge Island harbors.  This includes facilitating marine and general services for commercial and recreational boaters and the public, working closely with volunteer harbor stewards to orchestrate harbor activity, collecting fees for water-related uses, providing status reports for consideration and action, and ensuring compliance with federal, state and local laws regulating harbor activity.  The harbormaster also works with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources regarding vessels that are lost, found, adrift, sinking, derelict and abandoned, works with the executive and finance departments of the city to manage transient and long term use of harbor buoys, city docks, and linear moorage systems, and maintains records of visiting and residential boaters. 

Parking Enforcement

Parking enforcement officers (PEOs) perform field and office work related to the enforcement of parking ordinances and maintain parking records. Year round, PEOs walk and drive throughout the island to ensure compliance with parking regulations, especially in carpool areas, no parking zones, disabled parking areas, time-limited spaces, and address vehicles blocking access and sidewalks. PEOs are also responsible for addressing parking complaints, impounding improperly parked or abandoned vehicles, directing traffic when needed, appearing in traffic court, attending community meetings to address parking issues and managing the downtown employee parking permit program.

Reserve Program

Our department currently has three reserve officers. Reservists are local citizens who volunteer to assist with a variety of police duties including patrol, special events and more.  Reserve officers have successfully completed the Reserve Officer Academy and are valuable members of our team.

Marine Services Unit

With our island community’s 53 miles of rugged shoreline, the BIPD’s Marine Services Unit is a critical component of public safety. Our primary vessel is a well-equipped 33’ SAFE Boat powered by triple 250 horsepower Mercury Verado engines and capable of carrying 18 passengers. The vessel, referred to as M8, features high definition imaging sonar, radar, a chart plotter, an encrypted Automatic Identification System, a micro-ROV (remotely operated vehicle), radiation detection equipment, 2 VHF radios, collision and depth alarms, and an on-board com¬puter with thermal imaging capability. The vessel and its crew operate with several core missions in mind; namely search and rescue, vessel assistance, recreational boating enforcement, environmental response, and assistance to other agencies such as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the US Coast Guard, Washington State Ferries and the Department of Homeland Security. The vessel primarily conducts operations in the jurisdictional waters surrounding Bainbridge Island, but occasionally leaves the immediate area when emergency assistance is re¬quested by other agencies.

The department’s second boat, referred to as M11, was added to the fleet in 2016.  An 18’ vessel with a single outboard motor, M11 is significantly smaller and more easily maneuverable than M8, and perfect for conducting in-harbor operations such as boating safety checks, boater education, and boater assistance as well as enforcement of the island’s three “No-Wake” Zones (Eagle Harbor, Port Madison, Manza¬nita Bay).  With just a 5 per¬son capacity, the vessel can easily be launched at primitive sites, and trailered with just a pickup truck.  The vessel also provides a mecha¬nism for the City’s harbormaster to communicate with the liveaboard community, address derelict vessels, and investigate environmental complaints.  M11 will also be outfitted in 2016 with a power hauler to extract derelict fishing gear from the water, which cannot be conducted aboard M8 without damaging its collar. 

Support Services

Our support services division consists of two police clerks, an evidence technician, and an administrative supervisor.  The primary responsibility of this tightly knit group of civilian employees is to organize, preserve, maintain, report, reproduce and disseminate department records of all kinds including case files, correspondence, contracts, complaints and evidence according to Washington State Law.

Police clerks greet citizens in person, by phone, and via email to evaluate and address all types of inquiries.  They also provide fingerprinting services, issue concealed weapons permits, register home and business alarms, issue pet licenses, respond to public disclosure requests, seal records, check and quash bench warrants, enter protection orders, and process stolen property into the state WACIC system. 

The evidence technician is carefully trained in the intake, processing, storage, preservation, inventory, release and destruction of evidence related to criminal activity as well as found property and items held for safekeeping.  Additional responsibilities include purchasing supplies and equipment for officers and staff, and maintaining equipment inventory records.

The administrative supervisor supervises the members of the support services division and assists the chief and deputy chief of police with calendaring, travel arrangements, research, presentation materials, and correspondence.  Additional responsibilities include officer training registrations, the review, coding, and processing of expenditures, tracking of agreements, contracts, complaints, and recognition, providing assistance with budgeting, annual reports, the department’s website, and special projects.