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Detective Eric Gunderson

Eric Gunderson was born in Siesseton, South Dakota on October 5, 1982 to Tammy and Jeff Gunderson. He attended Franklin Pierce High School, where he met the love of his life, Kameron (Kami). After high school, Eric attended Pacific Lutheran University and graduated with a degree in finance. He began his career in law enforcement shortly thereafter. Eric and Kami were married in May 2007. Their son Blake was born in February 2008, followed by son Brayden in October 2010.


Eric began working for the Washington State Patrol on October 24, 2005 when he joined the 95th Basic Training Class. He was commissioned on April 16, 2008 and assigned to Tacoma. Trooper Gunderson promoted to Detective in the fall of 2014 and became the Technology Liaison in the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), located in District 1. This role allowed him to assist CID detectives, Field Operations Bureau Collision Technical Specialists, Collision Reconstruction Troopers, and the Crime Lab Division’s Crime Scene Response Team with technology questions, training, and troubleshooting. He was also a member of the WSP Special Weapons and Tactics team. 


Detective Gunderson was revered for his understanding and incorporation of available technologies in law enforcement. He was an early adopter and enthusiast of unmanned aerial technology, and his work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been chronicled in media stories across the nation. His pioneering work allowed the state to reduce the length of road closures during collision investigations. Of specific note is his work after the 2017 Amtrak passenger train derailment in DuPont that gained wide acclaim and appreciation for its precision and value. Detective Gunderson traveled throughout the country representing the WSP as the premier agency in the world for UAV usage. Unfortunately, he contracted the COVID-19 virus while on one of these trips.


Detective Gunderson died at the age of 38 on September 26, 2021 after a courageous battle with the COVID-19 virus. He had served the Patrol for nearly 16 years at the time of his passing. Eric is survived by his wife Kami; their sons, Blake (14) and Brayden (11); his parents Tammy and Jeff Gunderson; his brothers, Jordan and Garrett Gunderson; and his grandparents, Norm and Lois Tchida, Karen Taylor, and Sue Barrett.  


FLYMOTION created “The Gunderson Award” in October 2021, which was presented to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office at a training conference. This award is presented to an agency or first responder in recognition of their dedication to improving daily operations through Unmanned Aircraft Systems and technology integration.  Here is a video, honoring Eric, which was shown at the Unmanned Tactical Application Conference (UTAC) in October 2021 in Perry, GA:


In May 2022, the Gunderson family attended Police Week in Washington D.C.  Detective Gunderson’s name was added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial and read during the Annual Candlelight Vigil.


In October 2022, a plaque honoring Detective Gunderson was added to the Memorial Wall located at the Helen Sommers building in Olympia. 


In October 2022, a plaque honoring Detective Gunderson was added to the Memorial Wall located at the Helen Sommers building in Olympia. 

Washington State Patrol
Detective Eric Gunderson
End of Watch – September 26, 2021 
Gone But Never Forgotten 

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