Excessive-stress occasions are a part of the job, however officer says it largely entails serving to folks and downside fixing
When Officer Todd Erickson began on the Elk River Police Division in 1996, there have been no computer systems or cell telephones in squads.
“Now we’ve got seven completely different laptop programs, physique cameras, squad cameras, and nevertheless many alternative information bases we are able to go on,” he stated. “The fact is every day there’s not tremendous high-end stress. A big a part of the job is downside fixing.
“We’re, nevertheless, referred to as upon many occasions in simply seconds to make probably life-changing selections based mostly on imperfect or incomplete data,” Erickson stated. “I do consider within the coaching, which has advanced through the years. However a variety of it comes right down to your framework, your expertise, your coaching and making these selections with imperfect and incomplete data — inside a second or two.”
Erickson was awarded the Medal of Valor from the Elk River Police Division this previous September. He referred to as it humbling and stated it meant lots. He additionally famous he felt his actions on Nov. 14, 2020, to convey a police pursuit involving a motorist taking pictures at police to a peaceable conclusion was simply one of many bravest issues he has carried out in his police work for Elk River.
Erickson stated the very subsequent chase scenario proved to be an much more troubling expertise for him to get his head round. He can level to a number of extra examples with the work he does concurrently with the Minneapolis and St. Paul Transit Police, however that must be for one more story.
Erickson says the high-stress occasions and the grind of day by day police work has been powerful on his household, particularly his spouse.
“She has been a chilled affect for me,” he stated. “This job has modified me and never all for the great. Her assist by way of these occasions and the years has meant extra to me than I even have advised her and greater than she’s going to ever know. She retains me in stability with actuality every day.”
Right here’s extra on the among the extra hair-raising examples of high-stress conditions Erickson has navigated with out getting critically harm or killed and with out critically hurting or killing somebody.
Just a little greater than six months after the pursuit involving a St. Francis squad and fleeing motorist, an tried murder suspect from Minneapolis was fleeing and taking pictures at officers as nicely.
Erickson stated this man had shot anyone 5 occasions earlier that day and the Large Lake Police Division situated him and began chasing him. Because the chase entered Elk River, the fleeing motorist shot at Large Lake officers.
In the meantime, Erickson was simply east of there on Freeway 10 attempting to clear a intersection congested attributable to street development as a result of they knew this man was coming.
“Then I acquired going westbound on Freeway 10 from Upland, and I didn’t understand it, however rapidly I see a Dodge coming the fallacious manner in visitors at freeway speeds and I’m approaching it.
“I’m pondering this man shot anyone in Minneapolis, he simply shot on the cops a couple of seconds in the past and right here he comes at freeway velocity at me head on and we performed hen,” Erickson stated. “I used to be swerving forwards and backwards and… going at him and he blinked first and went again into the proper lane, which was nice as a result of there was a complete bunch of vehicles behind me that this man may have slammed into.”
That scenario resolved when the person within the Dodge shot himself throughout a standoff close to the intersection of Proctor Avenue and Freeway 10.
Erickson remains to be undecided what he would have carried out in that hair-raising expertise if the motorist stored coming at him.
“I had a couple of seconds to resolve if I used to be going to slam into him head on or swerve out of the best way and hit the again of his automobile,” Erickson stated. “To at the present time I haven’t resolved what I’d have carried out with that.”
There have been different conditions the place Erickson has needed to pull from deep inside himself to bravely navigate circumstances. He didn’t at all times have a variety of time to make selections.
Elk River Police had a person who attempting to assault his spouse with a knife. Erickson and one other officer on the pressure, who had the advantage of a protect, squared off with the person within the storage. Erickson grabbed a push broom off the storage wall to get the knife-wielding man to maintain again.
“We finally acquired the feminine out of the home, and he went to the again of the home,” Erickson recalled.
Officers went to the again, and Erickson stayed within the storage. He and a youthful associate snuck in the home whereas the person’s consideration was out the again sliding glass door when Erickson snuck up behind him and grabbed his arm and pinned his arm and knife up towards a door.
“Then, I actually grabbed the knife blade with my naked hand and pulled it out of his hand,” Erickson stated. “It nonetheless provides me the willies after I give it some thought. That was high-end annoying.”
In some way, Erickson didn’t get minimize.
One other hair-raiser was a scenario at one in every of Elk River’s resorts. Police had been referred to as to a report of a disorderly man. As cops arrived, it was implied the person had a handgun.
“I entered the lodge and my associate has his handgun drawn,” Erickson stated, noting he didn’t have time to ask questions.
“I simply see this man’s hand goes going into his jacket,” Erickson recollects. “All I bear in mind pondering is his hand comes out his jacket, and we die. ‘Properly, do I shoot?’ I requested myself.”
Erickson determined to not. Within the subsequent prompt he took a pair steps and dove on the man.
“I leapt throughout the gap and pinned his hand into his jacket,” Erickson stated. “He fell backwards and went by way of some Sheetrock behind him. Then it was this wrestle to maintain his hand in his jacket. I’m pondering the identical factor. If his hand comes out, we die.
Ultimately, Erickson and his associate had been capable of pull it out on their phrases, and get him cuffed. The person wasn’t injured a lot and there wasn’t a gun.
“It actually would have been justified to shoot on the man below the statutes and insurance policies given the totality of these circumstances,” Erickson stated. “It’s good that it didn’t occur.”
Erickson says he has had his gun out whereas working (not counting coaching workouts), “however there’s a distinction in having your gun out when this can be a ‘shoot-don’t shoot’ scenario,” he stated. “I’ve been in seven or eight of these.”
One of many extra memorable conditions got here after an armed assailant in a home pointed a gun at his sister.
She advised police the gun had a flashlight taped to the underside of a gun.
“(It) was was a tactical attachment for a flashlight that goes on the underside of a handgun,” Erickson stated. “We had been capable of get him out of the home, however he didn’t understand it was the cops outdoors.”
It was a pitch black evening.
“I yelled out his title about 20 yards or so away, and I may see a determine and one thing in his palms however I didn’t know what it was. I referred to as out his title many times nothing.
“I name it out once more and I see a flashlight pointed at me, and I knew what was probably taking place.”
Erickson’s ideas raced.
“I don’t need to kill this man if he’s simply pointing a flashlight at me,” he stated. “I do know it’s very possible the gun, however that flashlight appeared as massive as a highlight on my face. And I nonetheless couldn’t see.”
Erickson turned on the flashlight on his rifle, and he nonetheless couldn’t see.
“So I turned it off actual fast,” he stated. “I side-stepped slightly as a result of he now is aware of the place I’m at so I referred to as out his title once more.
“His mild got here on once more however it’s pointed at the place I used to be, so he doesn’t know the place I’m. I begin yelling his title extra and we get him to susceptible out or lay out on the bottom and cuff him up.”
Erickson requested his fellow officers if he had a gun. He did, and it was loaded.
“So I ask my companions does he have one other flashlight?”
“Nope,” they stated. “That gun was pointed at my head. I had flashbacks for some time with that one.”
Erickson’s spouse is just not at all times glad along with her husband’s selections.
“Generally your self-preservation voice at the back of your head is just not yelling as loud as the moment go get the man. Catch the man. Do the best thing-voice,” Erickson stated. “My spouse was upset with a couple of of those conditions. She needs I’d take heed to that self-preservation voice extra.”
Large a part of the Elk River group
Erickson grew up in Blaine and graduated from Blaine Excessive Faculty. He performed soccer, baseball and observe.
After highschool he attended the College of Minnesota at Duluth and obtained his bachelor of arts diploma in sociology and criminology. Whereas at UMD, he performed soccer for 4 years.
After faculty he was employed as a correctional officer at Stillwater jail. He labored the afternoon shift on the jail and attended Metropolitan State College through the daytime to finish his legislation enforcement courses and coaching.
After being employed by the ERPD in 1996, he was employed by the Metro Transit Police Division as a part-time police officer in 2013 He continues to work for each locations.
He has been married for nearly 25 years. He and his spouse have lived in Elk River the entire time. The couple has raised two boys that attended Elk River colleges.
Erickson spent a few years concerned in Elk River space athletics, serving as a youth coach for soccer, basketball, baseball and lacrosse. He was on the Elk River youth soccer board for a few years and served a stint because the president of the Elk River Youth Soccer Affiliation Board of Administrators. He additionally referees soccer for native youth video games now and again.
“I get pleasure from touring with my spouse and two boys,” Erickson stated. “We additionally like spending time up north on the lake cabin.
He additionally enjoys downhill snowboarding. This previous yr he signed on with the Nationwide Ski Patrol at Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls.
“We patrol the ski hill and reply to emergency conditions and injured skiers when accidents happen,” Erickson stated.
Within the years he has left with the Elk River division, he says he seems to be ahead to leaving a optimistic affect on these in the neighborhood.
“I’m really grateful for the data handed on to me from these at ERPD that got here earlier than me,” he stated. “I additionally get pleasure from passing on these similar expertise and amassed knowledge to the youthful officers right here now, combined in with touches of camaraderie, sarcasm, and honest respect for the job we do every day.”
Rent date with Elk River Police Division: Could 28, 1996
Positions held throughout the division and initiative involvement: SWAT operator and aspect chief, Subject Coaching Officer for brand new cops, Defensive Techniques Teacher, Collision Discount And Safer Highways “CRASH” Group founder and program director (DWI Job force-type enforcement actions)
Drug Recognition Knowledgeable, Protected and Sober Director (DWI program), Operation Nightcap Director (one other DWI and visitors security program). juvenile detective; on name detective, Member of ERPD Bike Group, Officer in Cost (in absence of the shift sergeant)
Awards: 5 lifesaving awards, 13 unit citations (awarded to pick out teams of officers taking part in or notable, complicated, or vital incidents/occasions of various content material); 4 Letters of Recognition from ERPD; 1 Letter of Recognition from Hennepin County for Murder Investigation; 2 Departmental Commendations; ERPD Meritorious Service award for particular person DWI enforcement efforts and actions as DWI applications course introduced in 2008; Blue Max (Officer of the Yr) introduced for 2005. Medal of Valor awarded in 2021.
Different notable recognition: Erickson acquired awards from ERPD, MADD, and the MN Workplace of Site visitors Security for DWI efforts which included 131 arrests in 2007 and 76 extra in 2008.