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Erlandson to retire after serving the community for 25 years
ARLINGTON — Ed Erlandson remembers the good and the bad as if it were yesterday.
On Oct. 21, the Arlington Police Department Commander drove his silver police van on 67th Street NE, slowing down near the intersection of 67th and 172nd Street NE.
Suddenly, a vivid memory came out.
“An industrial accident with a welding auger took place right there,” he said, pointing across his body out the steamy passenger-side window. “That one I still wake up to.”
Not all of Erlandson’s memories are that striking or as life-changing, but the retiring commander has seen a number of other changes during his 25-plus years on the job.
Erlandson will be retiring at the end of October after working his way up through the ranks of the Arlington Police Department. He started in March of 1982 as a reserve officer before becoming a full-time officer in July 1984.
“This idea of staying at one place for 25 years is not something you see a lot in the younger generation,” Erlandson said. “It was important to me that I didn’t have to bounce around from job to job.”
Since then, he’s worn a number of hats — literally. Before being a police commander, Erlandson has served as an officer in many capacities, including patrol officer, D.A.R.E. officer, training officer and field training officer.
He’s been a patrol sergeant and a lieutenant. He developed a crime prevention program and a formal training program in Arlington for new officers fresh out of the academy.
But Erlandson said he’s most proud of the relationships he’s made during his career.
“My connection with the community and being able to help people — those are the big things,” he said.
The veteran police official also said he’s also enjoyed having a hand in training his fellow law enforcement colleagues.
To his knowledge, Erlandson said he’s had a hand in training about 25 people who currently work for, or have moved on from, the Arlington Police Department.
“In a leadership role, you have to take the good and the bad,” Erlandson said. “I like to think that I’m pretty good at it — treating folks with respect but holding them accountable.”
Erlandson said he’s seen six chiefs work in Arlington during his tenure, and has seen the city population grow from approximately 4,500 residents to nearly 20,000.
During that time period, the police department has grown from seven to 28 full-time officers.
“That’s a big difference,” he said. “You just don’t have the time to do everything anymore. We used to talk with folks on the street and now we’re running from call to call.”
Erlandson said he elected to take the city’s most recent retirement incentive package with the hope that he could save one or two jobs.
The city of Arlington is currently making up a projected $1.8 million budget shortfall. City officials announced eight employees will be let go by the end of October, saving the city approximately $900,000.
“Those two people are people that would have be a heck of a lot of impact,” Erlandson said. “It’s been an honor to serve this community for 25 years.”