Pension Office News | September 2015
NEW SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT RETIREMENTS
There are two LEOFF II retirements to report this month.
Alex Stephen #4170, is a military brat. He was born in Portsmouth, Virginia Naval Hospital while his dad was on active duty. The family bounced around the country. It ended up in Tacoma after his father’s retirement. During Al’s high school years he joined the Pierce County Explorer Search and Rescue. Next, he moved to Pierce County Department Search and Rescue Unit after graduating from Stadium High in 1968.
That Fall he enrolled in the University of Washington. He signed up for the Navy ROTC and attended class in Clark Hall – the NROTC building. It was bombed by the radicals in 1968 and 1971, sustaining minor damage. Al saw the Seattle Police in action against the student demonstrators from 1969 through 1971, during both the daytime protests and nighttime riots. This impressed him to think about becoming a police officer (which he did seven years later.)
In 1972 during his senior years, he met Colleen, a freshman, whom he later married. But first he had to repay Uncle Sam as an Ensign assigned to the USS Agerholm, a WWII Destroyer named after a Medal of Honor recipient. For the year Al was on the Agerholm, it was assigned to the Coast of Vietnam or firing, plane protection and SAR missions.
After his twelve months overseas, he was assigned back to California. And he restarted his courtship with Colleen. Every weekend he drove his 240Z at warp speed to the University of Washington. His white officer’s dress uniform got him out of several speeding tickets. In 1974 they got married. Al stayed in the active Navy for another 3 years.
After his five year tour was up, he tried to enter law enforcement but there was a hiring freeze across the nation due to the poor economy. So Al stayed in the Naval Reserve in order to feed his family. This initiated his 24 year Reserve career which resulted in him attaining the rank of Captain. In 1978 the economy improved and the law enforcement hiring freeze thawed. He received employment offers from four agencies. Al chose Seattle because of his observations of the Seattle officers during the campus unrest years and maybe because four years earlier they looked the other way when he was speeding to court Colleen in his old 240Z.
Al attended BLET Academy Class #103. His FTO period was cut short due to low patrol staffing. He was assigned 3rd Watch West Central. While working with Gene Ramirez #4484 in Queen Sector, they responded to a suspicious man call. The suspect pulled a gun, a foot pursuit ensued, and the suspect was captured. He turned out to be an escaped killer from Florida, committing a series of armed robberies across the country.
In 1987 Al made Detective. His first assignment was West Burglary, followed by Narcotics, and finally North Burglary. In the decentralized North Burglary, he found a home. On January 1, 2001 he retired from the Navy Reserve so was able to work off duty at sporting events for the next fourteen years. On June 27, 2015, after 36 and a half years of service, trying to train eight different Chiefs of Police and seven different North Burglary Sergeants, Al retired.
In retirement, Al and Colleen’s plans are to enjoy their seven grandchildren and take road trips to visit relatives. However, they cannot take Al’s old Z. He wore it out courting Colleen while assigned in San Diego. But they still have her original 1967 Camaro which they can take on their road trips.
Rusty Leslie #5209, was born in Renton where his dad worked for Boeing at the plant there. Rusty’s mother died when he was very young, so he was sent to Yakima to be raised by his grandmother. She had chickens. One day Rusty pushed the rooster with a broom because it was blocking a doorway. The rooster flew into his face and attached to Rusty’s nose. He still has the scar to remind him in life not to challenge the cock of the walk. Later, he and his dad moved to Boise, Idaho. There Rusty learned to like the outdoors. He claims he only fishes when he hasn’t got anything better to do like hunting or dirt biking. After Boise, the family moved back to the Seattle area. About this time he met Leah. They got married so Rusty got a job with Alpine Industries. When his family started to grow, it was time to find a better paying line of work. So in October of 1987 he joined the Seattle Police Department. After BLET and Student Officer Training, Rusty was assigned to the South Precinct for a year. There he worked with Tim Liston #5192 and Nat Gasperetti #5280. Because Rusty lived north, he transferred to the North Precinct. There he mostly worked in a one-officer car. Occasionally he was partnered with Colleen Raftis #5957, and Dave Clement #5435.
One night Dave and Rusty backed a fellow officer up on a suspicious car stop. Rusty snuck out of his patrol car and snuck into the other officer’s vehicle’s back seat and hid below the back rest. Then Dave drove off waving at the officer who was standing alongside of the suspect’s car. This set up the officer who went back to his patrol car to write a ticket and FIR, grumbling what irresponsible juveniles Dave and Rusty were. About this time Rusty shouts from his hidden position “always check your 6 before getting in your car.” The officer, fed up, rushed through his paperwork, released the driver and quickly drove back to the station to get rid of Rusty. Rusty’s version is the officer needed a quick change of drawers.
All the officers said Rusty was fun to work with. But do not go hunting with him. It was like going bird shooting with Vice President Dick Cheney. The dogs and fellow hunters could all be considered fair game. Several finished the trip with a pellet or two imbedded in them. However, their complaining did not get under Rusty’s skin.
Rusty retired after 28 years of service, all in Patrol. In retirement he plans on hunting (if he can find any partners,) fishing, motorcycle riding, and Karaoke singing at his favorite watering holes until he has grandchildren to mentor.
PENSION OFFICE NEWS
- The RAP Picnic was held under sunny skies at the Range on August 6th, a week early. Again, this year’s Bocce Ball competition was stiff – well maybe only a wee bit stiff. John Nordlund officiated. After long and grueling preliminaries, “the Seattle way” was used to determine the winner – championship by committee. The victors were Team Annette Schenck/Celeste Bouffiou, Team Jan Brandes/Jules Werner, and Team Hutchinson, Dick and Georgia. There was a rumor going around that next year there may be an inclusive trophy for showing up.
- The ginger brandy reappeared at the picnic’s White Elephant Auction. Someone must have got a case of it at a clearance sale because the Hortin’s drank last year’s bottle.
- The 72nd Retired Officers Banquet was Wednesday night, September 9th, 2015 at the Nile. For the rest of the night’s festivities, stayed tuned for next month’s Guardian.
- Snowbirds – you will be heading South soon, so remember to update the Pension Office of your winter mailing address so there will be no misdirected correspondence.
- If you schedule a trip outside the U.S. or take a survival or nature vacation, secure traveler’s insurance. Neither Medicare nor Premera cover out-of-country medical. You will be billed up front, and then be seeking reimbursement. The same applies for Medivac emergency transportation in country, or out of country.