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Mayor Greg Wheeler has named Interim Police Chief Tom Wolfe as the next Police Chief for the City of Bremerton.
“During his career, Tom has been fully engaged with the community, focused on high quality law enforcement and committed to keeping the public safe. His outstanding qualifications, extensive experience with the City and his leadership as interim police chief over these past months have given me confidence in his ability to lead the department and apply the state’s new police reform legislation,” said Mayor Wheeler. Wolfe’s selection as head of the Bremerton Police department is subject to City Council approval.
Wolfe has been fully immersed in Washington state’s complex police reforms, the first of which went into effect statewide on July 25, and he has been aligning requirements for Bremerton Police operations with the new state laws. Additionally, Wolfe has been instrumental in bringing training to other law enforcement in Kitsap County on the latest legislation. The Washington Legislature passed wide-ranging police reforms and expanded accountability in this year’s session.
“Tom has a strong understanding of the new state laws and is dedicated to putting these reforms in place. I am confident he will continue to make public safety a priority while honoring the intent and spirit of the recent policing regulations,” said Mayor Greg Wheeler.
A 33-year veteran of the Bremerton Police Department, Wolfe was first hired in 1988 as a uniformed officer for the City and rose through the ranks to become Captain in 2003. His experience in the department includes patrol, investigations, training and instruction, and first-level and middle-management leadership. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Washington State University and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Xavier University. He was appointed interim police chief on June 1 following the retirement of James Burchett at the end of May.
During his years serving the City, Wolfe has been involved in community policing efforts and built cooperative relationships with faith and community leaders, organizations, and neighborhood coalitions. He has been an administrator for the Kitsap Critical Response Team, which responds to all Kitsap County agencies conducting independent investigations. Additionally, he has had experience facilitating accreditation of the Bremerton Police Department by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chief’s (WASPC), which has strict standards for police accountability, transparency, training, and reporting. The City’s Police Department voluntarily maintains the state accreditation. Only about 20% of law enforcement agencies receive the qualification statewide.
“We have a high standard of excellence for our police force and Tom has shown a strong commitment to maintaining that going forward for the City of Bremerton,” said Mayor Wheeler.
As Police Chief, Wolfe will also manage several current City initiatives, including intelligence-led policing efforts, Safe Place, behavioral health and navigator programs as well as the introduction of body cameras for officers.
“I’m honored to have been given this opportunity to be the next Police Chief of Bremerton,” said Wolfe. “I am firmly committed to carrying out the state’s police reforms, keeping lines of communication open with the community, and maintaining trust between our officers and the public. My focus is to continue serving our diverse residents at the highest level and working closely with the exceptional men and women of the Bremerton Police department.”