Bremerton’s newest police officer is a 2005 graduate of Olympic High School. Jacob Switzer, 26, was sworn in as an officer by Municipal Court Judge James Doctor during last week’s city council meeting.
Switzer later said he was surprised by the large turnout of officers at his swearing-in ceremony, some of whom he hadn’t met yet and others he had only known for a day or two.
“One comment that was given to me by one of the officers that I had just met was, ‘Even though your family can’t be here, this family is here for you,’” Switzer said. “That alone told me I was in the right place.”
As a teenager, Switzer participated in the Bremerton Police Department’s Explorers program and knew even then that he eventually wanted to become a police officer.
“I think it’s a fun job even though we see the bad side of people,” he said. “But, you also have a lot of good moments, too, with people. For all the bad moments that you have, if have just one in 100, or one in 1,000, good contacts, its worth it all. I really enjoy that, knowing that I’ve really helped somebody.”
Even though he’s only been with the department for about a week, there are a lot of familiar faces. He’s working with some officers that he first met as an Explorer and two of his former fellow Explorers, Brandon Greenhill and Steve Forbragd, are also now BPD officers.
“It’s a bit surreal and hasn’t really sunk in yet that we were Explorers together,” Switzer said. “We were just little kids and now we’re where we always wanted to be.”
Switzer was a wrestler and football player at OHS and his family moved to Michigan after he graduated. He attended Jamestown College in North Dakota, where he wrestled, but eventually transferred to Saginaw Valley State and got a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He attended the police academy in Michigan, graduating in 2012, and went to work at the at the Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Department, before applying for a position in Bremerton and flying out for a pair of interviews.
“I always wanted to come back here,” he said. “I love the area. I always liked the department and have a history here, so it was always in the back of my mind. When I heard about the opportunity, that’s when I jumped on it.”
Switzer has had about a week to make the transition from a rural sheriff’s office to an urban police department. He started out working the day shift, but will work other times of the day in coming months.
“They’ll kind of rotate me through different shifts until I get a hang of it,” he said. “I’ve always preferred the night because there’s a little more possibility for movement.”
Switzer enjoys playing guitar, hiking, camping and spending time outdoors with his dog.
“I love the ocean and the mountains and this is one of the only places you can get both,” he said.