I had lunch with Eric Olsen last week, for old time's sake, since we haven't done that since he was first appointed as Kirkland's Chief of Police back in 2007, and he has announced his retirement at the end of Sept. Where does the time go?! It made me chuckle...you know we're both Kirkland people when we sit down at Cactus and neither of us needs to open our menu. And then we order the same thing (steak salad, of course!).
Chief Olsen's presence is one that is calm, confident and approachable. He's a people person, who tells lots of great stories about his family (the triplets are grown now!) and his officers and leadership that he has great respect for. Eric appreciates this very special community and the support the police department receives, which as we know, is not the case everywhere. After 33 years in public safety, he assures us that he is leaving us at point where everything is running smoothly and will be left in good hands. It will be the City Manager's job to decide on our new Police Chief with input from Council and members of the PD. They may promote from within or conduct a search.
On Olsen's watch, we have gotten through annexation and therefore a significant growth of our police force. We have 100 officers now. The PD also moved to the new building which has its own lead-free range and a fully restored 1948 police car in the lobby. Chief Olsen's proud that they are fully staffed with very low turnover (b/c who would want to leave Kirkland?). He worked hard on making changes to officers' shifts--going from 12 to 10 hours so they can have a better quality of life.
So, what's next for Chief Olsen? He will be in charge of sales/customer service in the Northwest for Zetron out of Totem Lake that does communication systems for public safety. Thank you for your service, Chief, it's been a good run. Kirkland appreciates all of your hard work. And why not end with a selfie?
And also apparently an announcement that our Fire Chief, Kevin Nalder, has resigned.