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Gunderson ready for next career as professor

<v8.00><e1> ( Tom Gunderson surrounded by family during his retirement party Monday from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. From left to right are: father Jan, mother Sharon, Gunderson, daughters Molly and Megan, and wife Liz. (Herald photo by Jason Schulte)

Tom Gunderson started his collegiate years in the computer science program at UW-River Falls. 

“I hated it from day one,” he said.

He found an out when he met John Overland, who at the time was an employee with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Gunderson did a couple of ride-alongs with Overland and, eventually, Gunderson was convinced into working part-time at the sheriff’s department.

It ended up being one of the best decisions of Gunderson’s life, as he turned the part-time job into a 28-year career, which ends Friday.

“I haven’t had time to count the days,” he said last week. “The biggest thing for me is getting these cases done and cleaned up.”

Gunderson isn’t riding off into the sunset. He’s trading his badge in to become a full-time professor at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) in River Falls, where he will be teaching in the Criminal Justice Department starting next month.

“I was not looking to leave,” he said. “I was enjoying what I was doing and I’m working with a great group of guys. This was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up.”

Gunderson had been an adjunct professor at CVTC for the last five to six years, while working on obtaining his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UW-Platteville.

“They called me up and said would I be interested and I said sure,” he explained. He added it felt like it was the right thing to do, to prepare the youth for today’s law enforcement, just like when he was a student.

And when he heard a full-time instructor job was opening up at the River Falls location, he threw his hat in the ring.

“I wasn’t ready to retire yet,” he said. “I started talking to fellow officers who said you can’t control when opportunities like these arise.

“I consider (CVTC) a great opportunity and I’m really excited to get in there and be a resource for new prospective officers.”

For more please read the Dec. 18 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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