Colleen Smith photo
                                New deputy Bryce Peterson.

Colleen Smith photo New deputy Bryce Peterson.

Orcas welcomes new deputy Bryce Peterson

Bryce Peterson still can’t believe his luck.

Since Feb. 5, he has been the newest San Juan County Sheriff’s Deputy for Orcas Island, where he says every day is “like a vacation.”

“It’s a dream job,” Peterson said. “I’ve always loved the San Juans, and I’ve always loved Orcas Island.”

Peterson moved from Odessa, Washington, where he was part of a two-person police department, serving 950 residents for the past 13 years. His job on Orcas has been more action-packed than he was envisioning.

“It’s a lot busier. The days are full,” he said. “Everybody is great, and everyone I have met at the sheriff’s office has been great. We have a great crew on Orcas.”

Growing up in Ferndale, Washington, he spent time in the San Juans as a kid. Eight years ago, Peterson brought his wife Rochelle on a trip to Olga, which they both loved. Last year, they spent time on Lopez, where Peterson heard about the job opening on Orcas.

Now, Rochelle and their five kids are “all on board” for this major life change. His children range in age from 5 to 17, and they – along with their two dogs Rusty and Hyde – arrive on the island in July.

“The whole family is really excited,” he said. “Our kids have always lived in a little town but with not a lot to do in the middle of nowhere.”

The Petersons like to go camping, boating, fishing and mountain biking. They also love the beach, wildlife and animals. Hyde, a border collie, does agility courses and is a qualified service animal, thanks to the training efforts of Peterson’s 16-year-old daughter. Peterson and his 12-year-old son like to ride bikes together.

“There are so many mountain biking trails and gravel roads to ride around here,” he said.

So far, Peterson has been enjoying the newest chapter of his career.

“I love interacting with people,” he said. “That’s the best part about the job: connect with people and build relationships.”