Kitsap County Sheriff wants more time fighting crime

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer has announced he intends to run again this fall for the county’s top cop job.

“It’s a great job. I’ve spent the last 30 years helping people,” Boyer said, “and now I get to leverage that desire to help people by making this community a safer one.”

The 51-year-old Democratic incumbent has relished a series of law enforcement triumphs over the last three and a half years, including an increase in drug-related arrests and the expansion of the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team.

“Reliable studies show that 80 percent of all crime is drug-related,” Boyer said. “That’s why we’ve beefed up our coverage.”

Boyer wants to do even more to reduce drug use and drug-related crimes in the county, given the proliferation of methamphetamine.

Boyer wants to establish a drug interdiction team within the Sheriff’s Office, in which officers can focus all their energies on drug crimes.

“It could be about a four- to six-person squad,” Boyer said. “The hiring of the four additional deputies later this year will help bring this about.”

The four new deputies, to be hired by the end of summer using a $300,000 federal match grant, would replace the more seasoned deputies appointed to the drug squad.

The number of actual commissioned officers has increased to 122 from 99 during Boyer’s term, a 24 percent jump.

“One of the highlights has been watching the deputies develop and the development of this organization,” Boyer said. “I want to leave it better than I found it, and I hope that the next sheriff does the same.”

Boyer has presided over a recent drop in crime rates in Kitsap County, as well. According to a recent Washington State Sheriff and Police Chiefs Association report, property crime dropped by 8.6 percent and violent crime dropped by 9.6 percent last year. Crime, overall, dropped by 8.7 percent. The study compared law enforcement statistics gathered in 2000 and 2001.

Boyer says he’s also proud of his corrections staff, a group of law enforcement professionals he calls “unsung heroes” who have reaped national and state recognition.

But Boyer’s term has also been marked by controversy.

In November, members of the Sheriff’s Deputy Guild overwhelmingly cast a vote no-confidence in Boyer, primarily because of poor communications between sheriff’s administrators and the rank-and-file, according to guild leadership.

Relations between Boyer and the guild since then have grown less strained, and Boyer wants to forge stronger relations into the future.

“Sometimes people can have the same goal, but a different road map on how to get there,” said Boyer. “Good people can disagree, and I respect (the guild’s) opinion.”

Boyer remains optimistic.

“I’ve just got outstanding people,” said Boyer.

Boyer, a 26-year Washington State Patrol veteran, graduated with honors from Central Washington University with a degree in Law and Justice and completed graduate course work at the University of Louisville.

He and his wife have lived in Silverdale since 1985. They have three children in college.

When the campaign begins

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer plans to officially kick off his campaign from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on July 2 at the Eagle’s Nest at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

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