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Deputy Rye honored by peers, Elk’s Club

It was a foregone conclusion that 54-year-old Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Rye would devote his life to public service.

His father was a reserve officer in the Bremerton Police Department. His father-in-law was a state game warden. Rye’s 26-year-old son is a U. S. Customs drug enforcement officer, and dog handler (for drugs), at Miami International Airport; and his 24-year-old son is a federally employed firefighter at Subase Bangor.

It was also a foregone conclusion that Rye would be picked Deputy of the Year by his fellow officers and Citizen of the Year by the Bremerton Elk’s Club for his community work over the last three decades.

“I was voted ‘Deputy of the Year’ by my peers — which is what makes it so special to me,” he said. Rye, a long-time member of the Elk’s, also was proud to be named Citizen of the Year for both his police work and non-police work.

He seemed surprised as he ticked off all the members of his family in public service — spanning three generations, with Rye in the middle.

“It really does seem to run in the family,” he said with a laugh.

Rye was born and raised in East Bremerton. “I’m a local kid,” he commented. And has been a deputy for 30 years. He graduated from East Bremerton High School in 1969, and attended Olympic College for two years.

He served in the U.S. Army three years and did a tour in Vietnam from 1971-72.

Back here at home, “I was the first dog handler for the Sheriff’s Office, and one of the first motorcycle officers,” he said.

He established “School Patrol” for county schools and was a Crime Prevention Officer for three years. He is the only School Zone officer “driving the county’s only black-and-white patrol car.”

He has been a firearms instructor, emergency vehicle teacher, and is on the Kitsap County Disability Board.

Rye’s been known to shed his brown Sheriff’s uniform for zebra stripes, having been an official for high school football for 16 years, a baseball umpire for 12, and basketball referee for 32.

His skills put him on the field for the 1981 King Bowl. He has umpired several high school state tournaments, and umpired three softball nationals for the adult American Softball Association.

“I just enjoy being around people,” he explained. “And it’s always fun working with the kids in team sports.”

He’s also been on the Kitsap County Fair Board for six years, and an Elk for 28 years.

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