Growing Up "Erie"
Back in 1998, when Kevin Jamison started his career in law enforcement in Erie, Colorado, the department had 11 full-time officers and the town had a population of 3,500. A town small enough that it had few paved roads.
Twenty years later, some things have changed but other things have not. The town now has roughly 35,000 residents, but there is still the small charming historic downtown with older homes surrounding it. Beyond it, the “new” Erie has popped up with new homes and stores. The police department, which had its first marshal appointed in 1884, has grown as well. Today, you can find 36 officers out on patrol or working in their new(ish) home – built in 2015, the new police department headquarters has all the modcons as well as historical police memorabilia preserved and on display.
Kevin is just as charming as this growing city, and his desire to join the ranks of law enforcement began at an early age. When Kevin was a kid playing cops and robbers, he always wanted to be the cop. In 1989, he was inspired to become a Police Explorer at the age of 13 after his bike was stolen and a neighbor’s friend – a police officer – found it and returned it to him. Kevin got his bike back and his love of law enforcement was solidified. He became a Police Explorer and Cadet for the cities of Louisville and Lafayette, in northern Colorado and went on to graduate from the Red Rocks Community College Law Enforcement Academy in Golden, Colorado and started work for the Erie Police Department north of Denver when he was 21.
Kevin’s face lit up as he described his first day on patrol. After all the years as a Police Explorer and Cadet, at the academy and completing field training with the Erie P.D., he was free. Kevin smiled, “I just got in my patrol car and started driving”; he was living his dream. I am smiling as I write this - his enthusiasm and joy in that moment was shining through, 20 years later as he shared his story.
His training and desire to improve didn’t stop there. He went on to be a member of the Boulder County SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team from 2001 for two years, and was promoted to sergeant in 2004. From 2015 through last year, he was part of the Weld County Critical Incident Response Team. Today he is a detective sergeant overseeing a team of detectives and like his colleagues in many smaller agencies, wears multiple hats and he is also tasked with overseeing special events which provides him more opportunity to engage with the community. Kevin feels privileged to be in this position of working with the community – he uses that word, “privilege” when talking about his career and his ability to work with the community. A highlight is the Erie Town Fair, where Kevin puts his uniform on and goes on foot patrol. It takes nearly two hours for him to walk the one-block perimeter. But those two hours are well spent, with familiar community members stopping to say hello and new community members introducing themselves. For Kevin, it’s an opportunity to strengthen his bond with his community.
He truly has grown up at the Erie Police Department. In 2000 he married his wife and they have two great kids. A drawing from his son, featuring Kevin in uniform hangs on the wall to the right of Sergeant Jamison sums up what is important to him – his kids and law enforcement. In Kevin’s down time, he enjoys getting away and camping with friends and family. When looking back on the last 20 years, he is, “honored and proud to have been given the privilege to work in this career,” and “what keeps me coming back day after day is the idea that I can make a difference in the community.”
He talks about what a privilege it is to work for the Erie Police Department and the community of Erie, and what a privilege being a law enforcement officer has been for him. Privilege is a word he uses frequently when talking about his career. However, after spending some time with him, I believe that the Erie P.D. and community are the ones privileged – they are the recipient of Sergeant Kevin Jamison's childhood dream of being a law enforcement officer.