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Gresham Police Officer of the Year is credited with creating innovative training measures


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Ryan Rasmussen, a nine-year veteran with Gresham Police, spends his days patroling the Rockwood area in Gresham.

Some boys never outgrow playing cops and robbers.

“When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a paper about ‘What I Want To Do with My Life,” said Gresham Police Officer Ryan Rasmussen. “It was graduate from high school, join the military and become a police officer. My life was pretty well planned — I always knew I wanted to be a police officer.”

Not only is Rasmussen fulfilling his own prophesy, but his contributions to the Gresham Police Department have led him to be named the 2012 Ron Crump Officer of the Year. The award, named for highly revered and retired Patrol Officer Ron Crump, is presented annually to the officer whose work ethic exceeds his or her assigned duties.

Rasmussen is a nine-year veteran with Gresham Police. As the lead firearms instructor for the department’s firearms program, Rasmussen introduced real-world training to better prepare officers for potential problems they may encounter on the job. He initiated an ongoing development program that helps officers cope with physical exhaustion and learn how to identify deadly threats in crowded environments.

Rasmussen also carries a leading role in the field training officers program. In addition to assessing the skill levels of incoming recruits, Rasmussen spends regular time at the Police Academy, assisting in the training of new officers to ensure their success later in the field.

His innovative and forward-thinking approach toward training not only has contributed to officers being better prepared in the field, but also earned him high marks among newbies and veterans alike.

“Ryan’s done some great scenario training related to what officers may face in the field,” said Detective John Rasmussen (no relation), Gresham Police spokesman. “He’s given a lot of thought to training our officers so they are safe.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Officer Ryan Rasmussen inspects a weapon in the police armory. Rasmussen is Gresham Police Officer of the Year.

Born and raised in Hart, Mich., Rasmussen, 32, enlisted in the Marines shortly before his high school graduation. He was deployed to Rota, Spain, missing his commencement, and spent four years as part of the Marine Security Force, guarding U.S. Naval ships and installations along the Straits of Gibraltar.

While on duty in Rota, Rasmussen met a young Naval Arabic cryptologist named Melissa. The pair completed their tour and returned stateside — Melissa to family in Portland and Rasmussen to his hometown in Michigan. Two months later, Rasmussen packed up, moved west and in November 2004, the couple married.

Rasmussen is a laid-back kind of guy, with an ever-ready smile and infectious sense of humor. He spends his days in a squad car patrolling neighborhoods in the Rockwood area, a location he volunteered for. He’s passionate about his job and his desire to help others, but understands the barriers his uniform presents.

“I have a realistic view of my job,” he said. “I know I’m not going to help everybody, and most people I come across every day hate me. But (Rockwood) is where I want to be. It’s where people need attention. Every call is different down there.”

Rasmussen is one of 55 police officers who patrol the 25 square miles that define Gresham. Though some days may be more predictable with calls — holidays, for example — Rasmussen said cruising through neighborhoods, talking to people and a sense of humor help during the days that aren’t so predictable.

“(Being a patrol officer) keeps me from sitting behind a desk,” he said. “I love coming to work and seeing what people are up to.”

Laughing, he added, “But there’s a lot more paperwork than I thought.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Rasmussen uses his military background to employ real-world training methods to keep officers safe in the field.

Though Rasmussen devotes a lot of time and energy thinking of worst-case scenarios to present during the department’s twice-yearly training, he has fired his weapon only once while on duty.

“It was a dog named Peaches,” he said. “She belonged to a transient we were talking to, and she just didn’t like me. When we locked eyes, I knew she wasn’t going to back down.”

Being recognized by his peers as officer of the year has been an “honor,” Rasmussen said, especially since his interactions within the department span so many people in so many different capacities.

But like Ron Crump, the career patrol officer who the award is named after, Rasmussen is considered “an officer’s officer” within the ranks.

“Ryan puts himself out there by saying, ‘I want to do this because it’s good for the department and the community,’” spokesman Rasmussen said. “He goes above and beyond what’s expected of an officer, and that exemplifies why he was selected.”



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