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Bremerton police chief will retire in Feb.

Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers announced an end to his law enforcement career that began as a patrol officer with the city 36 years ago. He will retire in February.

“During my tenure as chief, the focus has been with teamwork, bringing quality policing to the citizens of Bremerton and instituting organizational change,” Rogers said in a statement.

Rogers was hired by BPD as a patrol officer Feb. 9, 1976 and promoted to chief on Jan. 1, 2006. During his time at the helm, Rogers oversaw the acquisition of black and white patrol cars, new uniforms and moved its headquarters from Fourth Street to Burwell Street. Rogers said that the department also modernized equipment and technological capabilities while adding support resources to all of its units.

“From implementing core values to support decision making to implementing policing initiatives that include focused policing concepts which has played a role in the decline in the crime rate,” Rogers said. “We have brought change to virtually every component of the organization. All with the goal of bringing forward a Department that the citizens have confidence in and support.”

Bremerton’s per capita crime rate has fallen dramatically with Rogers in charge. It fell from a statewide high of 11.7 incidents per one thousand to its current rate of 6.3 per one thousand for 2011.

But, Rogers’ tenure at the helm of BPD has not been without controversy. Forty of 54 members of the police officers guild passed a vote of no-confidence in Rogers in 2011, following investigations into a sex scandal involving a teenager who joined the department’s Explorer program in late 2010.

Rogers has also overseen three failed homicide investigations in the last 18 months, that his department believes are the result of a serial killer, while pushing aside investigations into other crimes such as the embezzlement of an estimated $200,000 from Bremerton’s American Legion Post 68.

Rogers, though, has maintained the confidence and support of the mayor and city council over the years.

“I don’t believe there has been one issue that the department has brought forward to the council that they have not supported in an effort to keep Bremerton safe,” Rogers said.

Rogers noted that following budget cuts in 2009, the department has secured almost $2 million in grant funding to keep officers working. The department has gone from a high of 66 officers to its current roster of 54.

Mayor Patty Lent praised Rogers and his department following his retirement announcement.

“During his tenure I have attended his award ceremonies each year recognizing the outstanding performance of our police officers for service above and beyond their assigned duties,” Lent said. “I appreciate his dedication to our citizens and our city.”

Rogers was promoted to sergeant in 1983. He made captain in 1996.

“It has been my privilege to work with the dedicated men and women of the police department,” Rogers said.

 

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