Everett’s ‘Little Cop’ retires

EVERETT – Deputy Police Chief Bob Stiles was a rookie cop in Everett when a nickname landed on him and stuck.

Stiles and his training officer were called out to break up a fight between a couple. The two officers found the duo drunk and naked. After clothes were found and the couple were separated, Stiles was told to stay with the man. The more experienced officer went to question the woman.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” the woman yelled from another room. “I want to talk to the little cop.”

The nickname, “Little Cop,” would follow Stiles in his nearly 30-year career with the Everett Police Department.

The Little Cop with quiet confidence and a firm handshake will leave big shoes to fill when he retires at the end of the month, his colleagues say.

“His experience and background has made his advice invaluable,” Police Chief Jim Scharf said. “He’ll be very difficult to replace.”

“Bob is one of the finest police officers the city of Everett has had. He has served the citizens with honor and integrity,” former police chief Al Shelstad said.

Stiles, 51, decided to retire a little early after being offered a job as division security manager with Coca-Cola Enterprises.

“I’m looking forward to something different. I’ve spent my whole adult life as a policeman,” he said.

Stiles didn’t grow up wanting to become a police officer, he said. His dad was an attorney in Sedro-Woolley so he “hung out at the courthouse and police station.”

“I was good friends with cops, and I liked what they did,” he said.

Stiles went away to Washington State University without a clear idea of what he wanted to study. He liked what he found in the criminal justice program.

He considered a career with the FBI but after speaking with a local agent he decided the job didn’t suit him. The agent touted the Everett Police Department.

Stiles graduated and tested with different police departments. His first call and job offer came from the Anacortes Police Department.

“The chief asked me if I could come to work at midnight that night,” Stiles said.

When he arrived, Chief Pete Dragovich opened a drawer handed him a revolver and badge and told him to go through the closest and find a uniform that fit.

Less than a year later, Stiles was hired by Everett.

The city was half its size today. There were three apartment buildings on Casino Road and no Navy base. Cruising on Colby Avenue wasn’t against the law, and bars along Hewitt Avenue drew the rough crowds.

As the city grew and changed, Stiles moved up through the ranks.

“Bob did a good job at any position he was put in, including second base,” said retired Capt. Len Amundson, who was the sergeant when Stiles was a detective on the narcotics unit.

The two played softball together on the department’s team for nearly 20 years.

“I would have loved to stay longer and promoted him more,” said Shelstad, who promoted Stiles from sergeant to lieutenant.

“He’s a hard worker, and he has confidence,” Lt. Bill Deckard said. “He’s the guy you seek out for answers. It was a great fit when he was promoted to deputy chief.”

The Marysville dad was appointed to deputy chief in the fall of 1990.

“He was a whiz at the budget. He always knew how to get the resources we needed, especially when money was tight,” Deckard said.

Stiles was instrumental in getting the department the new 800-megahertz radio system and mobile data computers in the patrol cars.

He also focused his attention on modernizing the north precinct and had a big hand in getting the south precinct built in 1999.

Stiles downplays his role in helping the department move forward, saying it’s a team effort.

“It’s a lot of people working together. I’m proud to have been a part of that,” he said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com.

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