A lot has changed in law enforcement since Brad Erisman began his career with the Washington Police Department 34 years ago.
Erisman, 57, has resigned from his position as the head of the department’s detective division. His last day was Friday.
He will continue his career in law enforcement, however he’ll be working seven miles south of Washington.
Erisman has been hired by the Union Police Department to serve as the new evidence officer. His official title will be Public Safety Technician.
After he was hired by Washington in 1979, he worked as a road patrol officer for about 4 1/2 years. After that, he was promoted to detective and later attained the rank of sergeant.
Erisman said he is leaving “for a change.”
“I’ll still be in law enforcement. I just won’t be out cruising the streets or doing investigations,” he told The Missourian on his last day on the job.
Erisman grew up in Ohio. After graduating from high school he attended Southeast Missouri State University for a couple of years, majoring in law enforcement. He later followed his sister and mother to this area.
After driving a school bus for a time, he learned that there was an opening on the Washington Police Department, submitted his application and was hired.
He served with the department under four police chiefs, Carl Schuler, Dan Rowden, Jim Ferrari and current Chief Ken Hahn.
When Erisman started in 1979, the police department was in the basement city hall, where the building and engineering departments are now located.
In 1980, the department moved to the lower level of what then was called the Municipal Complex. That building has been remodeled for the city’s new public library.
The police department moved again after the Public Safety Building, north of city hall, was completed in 2006.
The biggest changes in the job that Erisman’s seen have been in equipment and new technology.
“When I started here, we wrote our reports by hand and then they were typed by a secretary,” Erisman said. “Now we do all our own reports on computers.”
Patrol cars were equipped with radios that had only two frequencies, the department and the sheriff’s office. Officers had to use scanners to monitor the fire department and other agencies but could not interact with them, Erisman said.
“The biggest change has been the Internet and how we can access different sites for information and share information with other agencies through email,” Erisman said.
“I’ll miss all the guys I’ve worked with here over the years,” Erisman remarked. “But I’ll still be in touch.”