Police chief bids farewell to 25-year career

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer gives a humorous and heart-felt good-bye to retiring Bremerton Police Chief Rob Forbes Wednesday. - Photo by Sean Janssen
Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer gives a humorous and heart-felt good-bye to retiring Bremerton Police Chief Rob Forbes Wednesday.
— image credit: Photo by Sean Janssen

Bremerton Police Chief Rob Forbes bid a bittersweet farewell to a quarter-century long career in law enforcement with the city Wednesday afternoon at the Norm Dicks Government Center.

Forbes, 51, officially concluded his tenure Friday with interim chief Craig Rogers taking his place today. Ceremonially, colleagues and community members said good-bye at a gathering midweek that packed the City Council Chambers and brought both laughs and tears for those present, including Forbes himself.

“It’s gonna be very strange not to come to work Monday morning,” Forbes said. “I have been truly blessed in so many ways. I’ve forged friendships during my career that will last a lifetime.”

Bremerton Police Detective Sue Schultz praised the positive things Forbes has stood for.

“Most of all, he has a solid set of values and beliefs. Chief Forbes values his relationship with his family…and friendships with others,” Schultz said. “He is, by every definition of the word, a hero.”

Forbes turned those words right back around.

“You are truly my heroes and my heroines,” Forbes said to his officers. “And you are my family.”

A slew of Forbes’ peers from local law enforcement and branches of larger agencies thanked Forbes for his commitment to police work and community building.

“He’s proven himself to be an excellent chief,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer. “One thing that struck me most of all is how deeply, deeply he cared for his people.”

Forbes’ community involvement included sitting on the boards of directors for both the Kitsap Family YMCA and United Way. His work for those organizations earned him the admiration of many of those he came in contact with as a result.

“He has been critical in support of many of our programs at the Y,” said YMCA youth sports director Jim Pond. “Chief Forbes himself came to Late Night on a regular basis. We can’t thank him enough for that support.”

“I’ve been honored to work with Chief Forbes,” said United Way of Kitsap County Campaign Director Tamra Ingwaldson. “He was a leader for this community in making a difference.”

As a city employee, Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman and the city council were pleased with Forbes’ efforts.

“I think his wisdom will be missed,” said Councilman Brad Gehring.

“In a way, it’s sad. In another way, I’m happy for Rob and his family,” Bozeman said. “You never like to lose good people ‘cause they’re hard to replace. Given the kind of person he is, he’ll go on and do another special thing in his life.”

Jennifer Forbes, the chief’s wife, said Forbes will undoubtedly remain highly involved in the community.

“(Retirement) is gonna be great. I’m really excited for him and the opportunities this is going to give him,” she said. “I think he’s had an absolutely amazing career. To go out at a high point in his career and still be able to give to the community is incredible.”

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