Bainbridge or Bremerton: Which Police Department Has It Worse?

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Bainbridge Island and Bremerton have a few peculiarities in common. They are both predominantly accessible by ferry, fairly well surrounded by water, and have police departments that have been on the receiving end of negative press. Yet each has a style of law-breaking as unique as their relative coastlines:

The Bainbridge Police Department made the front page of the Seattle Times two days in a row this weekend for a shooting which revealed questionable practices within the department. That story reminded us of a whole slew of curious incidents involving Bainbridge officers, as well as some for the nearby Bremerton police department.

While the Bremerton department tends to consistently stick to sex, guns, and more sex, Bainbridge is all over the place with lying, killing, and cover-ups. Here's a quick list of their respective recent highlights:


Bainbridge Police Department

*Department hired an officer with a criminal record.

*An officer secretly tape-recorded a meeting between the City Manager and the Police Guild (illegal in State of Washington without permission of all parties)

*An officer killed a mentally ill man in his own home (this one is really complicated)

- after the killing, the Chief of Police fabricated a story for reporters.

-Then the officer who shot the mentally ill man described the deceased on his Facebook page as a "bad guy should have listened a little better."

*This one isn't so much a bad thing as just plain weird. The fabricating Chief is known as an accident waiting to happen:

In Laguna Beach he was a decorated officer who got hurt so often -- hit head-on by a truck, leg broken by a flying bumper, grazed by a ricocheting bullet -- that the Los Angeles Times called him "calamity cop."

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Bremerton Police Department

*Explorer scout became department plaything:

-Officer sleep with an 18 year old Explorer scout

-Another officer had sex with same 18 year old.

-Third officer let same 18 year old stay at his home.

-Captain let her take home potentially sensitive documents.

-Unauthorized ride-alongs.

We recently wrote a national feature on abuses in the Boy Scout's Explorer program. Bremerton may not be alone in this type of exploitation, but this was not their first time taking advantage of the Explorer program. Six years prior, another officer was reprimanded for having sex with a 19-year-old Explorer scout.

*A longtime officer was caught trading seized weapons with a local gun dealer. After the officer was caught, three higher-ups green-lighted the trades again.

So now that you've seen their dirty laundry, which department has it worse?

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