Young deputy making big strides in Washington State
By Dan Campana
From police cadet to an internationally recognized law enforcement professional in just 15 years – that alone says a lot about Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Myers.
Not bad for someone who didn’t know much about police work when a test in junior high revealed his top career choices to be acting, hotel/restaurant management or, at No. 1, law enforcement. Around the age of 17 he learned about the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office’s Explorer Cadet Program during a career night program.
“It seemed interesting to me, although I had never really considered law enforcement at that time. Well, needless to say, I was accepted into the program and was hooked,” Myers explained.
Over the years he progressed from a cadet to reserve deputy, and then worked as a 911 dispatcher while waiting for a job to open up. Then, in 2008, he got the call from the sheriff’s office.
“I guess it’s safe to say I kind of grew up at the office,” Myers said.
It’s also not a leap to suggest Myers has grown professionally over the last decade. While continuing to work in the patrol division, which he deeply enjoys, Myers hold a variety of other roles and responsibilities which involve not just serving the community, but also training and looking out for the wellbeing of his fellow officers.
In a nutshell, Myers works as a crisis intervention officer, on the bike patrol, a field training officer and a member of the agency’s strategic planning committee. He’s also the current coordinator for the cadet program with which he began his journey as a teenager.
The totality of Myers’ efforts earned him a spot on the International Association of Chiefs of Police “40 under 40” list for 2017.
“Honestly, I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come around the corner and tell me I’d been ‘Punk’d,’” Myers said of the recognition. “It was quite a humbling experience – especially seeing all the other amazing people from around the world and the amazing things they were doing. I was quite honored to be a part of such an extraordinary group.”
Just 32, Myers acknowledges he’s not one to sit around; he wants to engage, help and make things happen.
“I enjoy being busy and I really enjoy trying to make things better,” he said. “One of my biggest pet peeves is the saying ‘That’s how it’s always been done.’ I’m all about looking at different angles and trying to make things more efficient.”
He offers the issue of scheduling as an example of his approach. About four years ago, he noticed a dip in overall morale among the patrol staff. That inspired him to research and develop a new patrol schedule to help address employee concerns and motivate staff to engage in the process of making positive changes in the department.
The process required him to meet with sheriff’s office and county stakeholders – from the finance to legal – to figure out a new shift schedule, payroll timing and staffing levels based on call volume. The work paid off.
“After working on the project for over a year, it was implemented. The results have been phenomenal. The sheriff’s office has greatly reduced overtime costs, while patrol morale has vastly improved,” Myers said.
Myers, born and raised in the area of Washington State where he works, is also vested in the community as president of a non-profit performing arts group and a member of the Central Kitsap Community Council, which discusses issues and projects that impact county residents.
At the core of it all, Myers is driven to help others. As a police officer, that can mean working with crime victims in their time of need; providing a drug addict treatment options; or using compassionate conversation to calm someone struggling in a moment of crisis.
He’s firmly embraced his role as a teacher and mentor. Wearing his FTO hat, he guides new hires not just on how to enforce laws, but to understand what he calls the spirit of law enforcement and the culture the sheriff’s office strives for in the community. And, of course, as leader of the cadet program, Myers is paying it forward to the next generation of youth who might someday follow in his footsteps as a police officer.
“The help and guidance I received as a cadet has had such a huge impact on my life. Kids join our program and find a voice, find life skills and contribute back to their community. They learn humility and act as stewards within their high schools and hometowns. They may not all become officers, but they all gain incredible life skills,” Myers offered.
Myers is quick to credit his upbringing, namely his grandmother who raised him and his siblings by “The Golden Rule.” She instilled in them the importance of hard work and lifting up others who are in need.
Amid the challenges of being a police officer in today’s world, Myers carries her spirit and is clearly a believer in the nobility of the job and badge’s deeper meaning.
“Wearing a badge, especially in the area I was raised, reminds me that my community is trusting me to live by my grandmother’s words. I think about that when I’m working and trying to solve problems. You’re never going to please everyone, but I try to do the best I can with what I have,” he explained. “The public trust is an essential part of doing police work. I try to stay connected in the community in other ways, outside of my regular job, for the public to see (police officers are) all just regular people. Adding a personal side to the badge is an important element for me.”
From humble beginnings to a member of an exclusive group of law enforcement go-getters and achievers, Myers has some visions for what his career trajectory might look like.
“Patrol has always been my passion. I would like to become a patrol supervisor to continue to work to help others in this profession have the tools and support they need. Then moving up to work with big picture projects for our office and community,” Myers explained, adding that his career achievements and diverse array of local contributions could set him on a course to someday consider seeking the sheriff’s office’s top spot. “I would be honored to run for sheriff and continue to do what I am passionate about – if the community would see fit.
“That’s a long-term plan. So, for my bosses reading this, have no fear: I’m not plotting a mutiny,” Myers shared.
Read the entire 50 Badges series here.