Trooper Eric Thomas Gunderson

Trooper Eric Thomas Gunderson

Washington State Patrol, Washington

End of Watch Sunday, September 26, 2021

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Eric Thomas Gunderson

Trooper Eric Gunderson died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 while at a training conference in Champions Gate, Florida.

Trooper Gunderson was the technology liaison in the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and a member of the SWAT Team. His pioneering work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) had been chronicled in media stories across the nation. He had traveled around the country representing the Washington State Patrol for UAV usage to shorten the time of road closures during collision investigations. It is on one of these trips that he contracted COVID.

Trooper Gunderson had served with Washington State Patrol for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

The Effects of COVID on Law Enforcement

Beginning in early 2020, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders throughout the country began to contract COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic. Due to the nature of their job, law enforcement officers were required to work and interact with the community even as the majority of the country was self-quarantined. As a result, hundreds of officers died from COVID-related illnesses and other complications.

Corrections agencies, in particular, suffered tremendous losses due to the constant and close proximity between the corrections officers and large inmate populations. Since March 2020, ODMP has verified that over 900 law enforcement officers have died as the result of a confirmed or presumed exposure while on duty and continues to work with hundreds of other agencies that have suffered a COVID-related death.

Visit ODMP's COVID-19 memorial listing every officer who has died as a result of a confirmed or presumed exposure.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 15 years
  • Badge 823

Incident Details

  • Cause COVID19
  • Incident Date Friday, August 13, 2021

COVID-19, communicable disease, training

Most Recent Reflection

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I met Eric prior to him becoming a Trooper. Before going to the Academy I made Eric promise to see it through in exchange for a promise from me. When I saw Eric the day of his graduation he had the biggest smile on his face. It took years for me to fulfill my promise to Eric, but every time I did he always had that smile. I love you. You are a better person than I can ever expect to be.


April 9, 2022

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