BY CHIEF MATTHEW HAMNER
You might not realize it, but your Bainbridge Island officers really care about their community. And that’s how my new column got its name.
It all started when I was in Olympia at Sen. Christine Rolfes’ office and was speaking with Linda Owens about the Bainbridge Island Police Department. (She lives on the island).
She was commenting on the change that was occurring with the police department and was concerned about the department as a whole. I was sharing with her what I had found, which is a very caring, compassionate and professional group of officers.
I also shared a couple of incidents with her and she said, you should share those types of things. She said, maybe you should have a column in the paper. I asked her what we should call it and suggested the Chief’s Corner, she didn’t think that captured it very well. The county prosecutor came by and we were all talking, Linda, Russ, Michael, Linda and me. I was a little frustrated about the public not knowing about all the good work the officers do. I said, this kind of work happens all the time and Michael stated, that is the title of your column: “It happens all the time.”
Here’s a recent example, a letter from Art and Suzane Bartel:
“In response to our conversation today at Rotary Lunch, I wanted to commend to your attention Officer Ziemba of the Bainbridge Police Department.
On Saturday, Feb. 8 we traveled by ferry over to Seattle to have dinner with my son Brian and his wife.
Upon returning home to Bainbridge Island, we noted that it was snowing pretty hard during our return to retrieve our Smart Car, that was parked in the ferry parking lot. When we returned to where we thought we had left our car, all we could see of it was a white lump, but no visible sign that under the white lump might be our car.
We tried to uncover the car as best as we could and proceeded to try and make our way out of the parking lot and up the hill to Winslow Way. We could see that we were not going to be able to drive home as it was just too slippery and dangerous, so we walked back down the hill to the ferry terminal to try and get a cab. We found out that all the cabs had stopped running.
We had to abandon our car and call a friend at 11:45 p.m. to get him to come down and pick us up.
In the meantime, Officer Ziemba, who was on duty down at the ferry terminal that night, wanted to know if we were OK and did we need a ride home?
He approached another couple who had some back packs and luggage and who looked to be in worse shape than we were and they accepted his offer for a ride home.
Officer Ziemba was kind and considerate and reflected great credit on the Bainbridge Island Police Department. His manner was friendly and offered us his assistance out of pure pubic service. His kindness was very much appreciated by us weary travelers who didn’t expect to return home to Bainbridge Island to find our car buried by the blizzard that covered our car. Many thanks for his kindness as it did give us comfort to know that he was on duty and looking out for us.”
Matthew Hamner is chief of the Bainbridge Island Police Department.