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Posted on: May 4, 2021

Message from Mayor Wheeler

Police Chief Jim Burchett to Retire from BPD After 28-Year Career

I am delighted and saddened to announce that Bremerton Chief of Police Jim Burchett will be retiring as of May 31, 2021 after nearly 30 years of protecting and serving the people of Bremerton. Burchett has been an exceptional police chief to the City of Bremerton.

A Navy veteran and former shipyard worker, Chief Burchett joined the Bremerton Police Department in 1993 and rose through the ranks. I appointed him as the City’s interim police chief in 2018 following the retirement of the former chief of police and he was confirmed by the City Council later that year. 

As Bremerton’s police chief, Burchett focused on improving police operations and support to the community. He oversaw bringing police back to full staffing levels (the first time since 2007), directed the City’s first Intelligence Led Policing initiative to analyze real-time crime data and respond to “hot spots,” added a behavioral health professional into the department for crisis intervention in the community and started a body camera program for all officers. Chief Burchett has been committed to outreach with underserved communities and established the first Safe Place program in Kitsap County. Additionally, he helped strengthen policing standards within Bremerton as well as Washington state. He led annual accreditation from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chief’s (WASPC), which standardizes and maintains a higher level of accountability for police operations. Only 20% receive the qualification statewide and he mentored and helped other agencies with their accreditation. Chief Burchett also provided technical assistance and conducted audits of over 20 law enforcement organizations, including critical reviews of agency operations, as part of an executive leadership development program. 

Chief Burchett has done an exemplary job as leader of the police department. He’s emphasized service, commitment and responsibility as top priorities and it shows in his officers, command staff and support personnel. I appreciate his dedication to continuously seeking ways to strengthen local policing and the law enforcement profession. He has been a great resource to our community. 

About his time as head of the police department, Burchett shared a few words about serving as police chief. “I would like to thank Mayor Wheeler for giving me the opportunity to serve as Chief. He has been supportive and stood by the police department as we’ve worked to strive for excellence and, at the same time, to overcome the inevitable challenges we’ve faced. Mayor Wheeler has been forthright, ethical and one of the best leaders I’ve worked for. I would also like to thank the men and women of the Bremerton Police Department for their outstanding professionalism and sense of duty to the community. In my role, I’ve visited many different police departments. None of them have surpassed the staff of the Bremerton Police Department for overall excellence. The people of Bremerton have a valuable asset in their police department that not every community enjoys.”

The City of Bremerton will begin the recruitment process for the position in the coming weeks. 

Chief Burchett will be greatly missed. I wish he and his family the very best during his well-deserved retirement.

Greg Wheeler
Mayor

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