When Captain Bryan Keller first reported for duty with Bothell Police on December 1, 1980, the city looked a little different.
"There was one traffic light," said Keller. "Just one. "
His duties were a little different, too. Where the Bothell campus of University of Washington now sits, there used to be a cattle ranch. And those cows liked to roam.
"We'd often get a call that the cows from the Truly farm had gotten out," reflected Keller. "We had to go help round them up." Those days are long gone, and Keller's okay with that.
"Yeah, I don't miss that," Keller admits.
But some things are the same.
Every morning, Keller gets up before dawn, puts on his Bothell Police uniform and polishes his black leather boots. After 40 years on-the job, Keller isn't even talking about slowing down. And retirement is out of the question.
"It's always been about service," said Keller. "There's more to life than just yourself. You've got to serve others."
Bothell Police Chief Ken Seuberlich says Keller's experience and example are invaluable as his department grows.
“Bryan is the epitome of a dedicated public servant,” said Seuberlich. “He models our core values of service, honesty, integrity, excellence, loyalty and duty.”
When asked to sum up Keller's duties and accomplishments over the years, Seuberlich drops a file on his desk that's at least five inches thick. Where to start?
"Keller has served as a patrol officer, training officer, patrol corporal, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, traffic sergeant, training sergeant, operations captain, investigations captain," said Seuberlich, apparently just getting started. "He also helped create the tactics team, traffic unit, honor guard..."
The list goes on and on. And that's just his official duties. Keller is also well known in the department and the community for his tireless efforts to support and promote Special Olympics.
"He's done more for Special Olympics than anyone at Bothell Police," said Seuberlich.
Indeed, Keller has served as a torch-team runner, a lead fund raiser, even a "Super Plunger," for the annual polar plunge that raises money so more people can participate in Special Olympics.
Why does he do it? Keller answers with a question. "Have you ever been to Special Olympics?"
"When you see the joy Special Olympics brings and how it changes lives, I just have to be a part of that,' said Keller.
Deputy Chief Clint Beck sees Keller’s dedication to Special Olympics as something that goes even deeper.
“It shows the value he puts on treating all people with respect. Everyone. He’s grounded in that integrity,” said Beck.
For that and more, Keller has earned heaps of respect.
"He's willing to listen to and support people," said Rachel Ormiston, who's worked alongside Keller since 2003. "He's very dedicated and so committed to community service."
Other's observations are short and sweet.
“Keller knows his stuff,” said operations support staffer Talei Ontiveros. (Insider tip: In law enforcement, that’s about as big a compliment as anyone can get.)
While it's not easy to get Keller to speak about himself and his service, we could go on and on. And so we will!
Please watch for an upcoming, expanded article on Captain Keller’s decades of dedication in the next edition of Bothell Bridge. Through an excruciating process of information and quote extraction, we’ll share Keller’s reflections on his four decades of dedication to Bothell; how the city has changed and the important ways it remains the same.
It will be a fun look back. For us, anyway. Hopefully for Keller, too. Because 40 years of service, and still going strong – is something to celebrate!
Look for the Spring edition of Bothell Bridge , online, in March, 2021.