Commander Chris Felstad will work his last shift at the Issaquah Police Department today, after many years of service on the streets, in the schools and chasing wildlife. In addition to handling typical police calls and working a beat, Felstad also was a DARE officer and administrator. Here is a look back at some of Issaquah city workers’ favorite memories of the Commander. Thanks for all your years of service!
The feminine side
Peter, a former jailer, brought a bunch of gaudy earrings in to play a joke on a previous police chief, Dag Garrison. Chris Felstad, Peter and I put them on, and when Chief Garrison walked into work that day, he almost choked when he saw his officers wearing earrings!
Chris Felstad is as big a part of IPD (no pun intended) as any one person could be. His legacy of friendship will be impossible for any one person to carry on. That will be the challenge for all of us at IPD after he leaves.
Support Services Commander, Issaquah Police Department
The one to call
I first met Chris when I was about 25 years old (I am now 50). I had driven my two children, Meghann and Danny, with me to the old Ben Franklin store in downtown Issaquah. We drove a Datsun B-210 station wagon back then. Meghann was around 4 and Danny about 2. They were both in carseats in the back, and somehow I locked them (and my keys) in the car. I tried in vain to get my daughter Meghann to unlock the door — we had the old fashioned kind of manual locks.
She cried and cried, but wouldn’t lift up the lock. I went to the other window and tried to get Danny to lift up his lock. He thought we were playing a game — he laughed and laughed, but shook his head no. (Things haven’t changed much in 25 years.) I then went inside Ben Franklin, where Eileen Barber was the manager (she now serves on City Council). She called the Issaquah Police for me and in just a few moments, Chris Felstad pulled up with a big smile on his face and a tool to open the car locks. He teased me and said, “I’ll bet you did this on purpose, just so you could shop without towing these kids around the store”. He had the car unlocked in no time and he had both kids laughing and smiling. He gave me a big hug and I felt the weight of the world had just lifted off my shoulders.
Our paths would cross many times again and our friendship that began in the old Ben Franklin parking lot stayed strong. He taught the D.A.R.E. program to my children during their elementary years. They were impressed with his height, jokes and his message. I later went to work for the City Parks & Recreation Department, and we collaborated on many City projects—dubbing ourselves “partners in crime.” Our spouses and families forged friendships, and the main ingredient of those friendships is laughter. Chris has the best heart — he brings warmth, laughter and genuine caring to every situation he walks into. I wish him every joy in the next adventure of his life.
Parks & Recreation
The man for the job
After working with Chris for 18 years, I have learned never to try and surprise him. Don’t sneak up behind him. He is 6 feet, 9 inches tall, and gets jumpy. You can’t move fast enough to escape one of his arms from flying back at you as he screams. You will end up getting hurt.
After many Salmon Days weekends with Chris, I learned that if you want to do police work by walking around, checking people for warrants and doing bar checks, then don’t go with Chris. Find another officer who is less well-known. You can’t walk more than 10 feet without someone coming up to him, giving him a hug and introducing him to their family and friends. It’s going to be a former DARE student, parent, handgun class graduate, former bad guy turned good guy, business owner, you name it.
When there are only two officers on duty, you want one of them to be Chris. I remember around 1990 when I was new, I was going to one of the bars on a disturbance call. I tried to talk with the two guys in the bar who were arguing. They were drunk and they weren’t listening to me. Suddenly they got quiet and looked up over my head. At first I thought it was me. Then I heard the roar of Officer Felstad’s voice from above. They of course did whatever he wanted them to do. He had just become my best friend.
If Chris is on duty and a wild animal call comes out – cougar, bear, deer, etc., his eyes will light up, and he will drop everything and go. Don’t tell him there are other officers close by, or that he is needed in a meeting. (Remember he is 6’9”.) You will find yourself moved out of the way shortly.
Sergeant, Issaquah Police Department