Eric Kozowski has long been interested in being a cop, or as he prefers to be called: a peace officer. From the time he was a young kid managing his trucks in his “city” in the backyard, to his stint as a Marine serving in Desert Storm, to his volunteering as a reserve deputy with the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office, Eric has loved police work. When his job as a high tech network engineer was outsourced in 2002, he decided to pursue a career change and become that peace officer he had long dreamed of becoming.
He worked as a deputy for nine years in Wallowa County, earning many accolades for his detective work, his grant writing skills that led to the complete revamping of the county’s communications systems (Wallowa County’s largest ever grant at the time), investigating a real “Hatfield and McCoy”-style double homicide and other innovative police work. But having been away from family, friends and the amenities of a larger town – as well as the challenges of a larger department, he looked for new possibilities beyond the county’s small operation. When the opportunity at Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office was offered, he jumped on the chance to join a well respected organization in a beautiful area of the state and the ability to further his career opportunities. Eric has now been at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office for almost six years.
His fifteen years in technology ranged from self-taught skills in programming, to a fascination with the Internet –when only university geeks knew what it was, to redesigning a company’s network while still in high school. Once he graduated, he took more classes while pursuing ever increasing responsibility at a variety of companies, including AT&T where he had the rare opportunity to “intern” for a short time at MIT. When the Internet became an actual “product,” he had enough knowledge to start his own Internet Service Provider company (ISP) focused on the business community in Portland. As that industry grew and consolidation happened, he sold the company to an international firm and became a consultant for them, working on the internet “backbone” – the highest level of network operations.
Semper Fi. One of the things Eric is most proud of and still guides his thinking – disciplined, organized, compassionate and thorough. Someone once said, you never quit being a Marine. Eric’s love of country, his countrymen and his fellow Marines serves him well in all he does. As a Combat Engineer, he participated in ground combat operations during Operation Desert Storm. His Engineer Company was awarded a unit commendation for the vital role they played during the invasion of Kuwait.
But Eric isn’t all police and geek. He participated as a Sea Scout (a Boy Scout Explorer organization) and has served as a leader in that organization for over twenty-five years. He also co-founded and ran the
Eagle Cap Shooter’s Association, a group of gun enthusiasts in Eastern Oregon. His hobbies include riding his beloved BMW motorcycle with his wife of twenty-five years, Kristen; watching his twenty-three year old daughter grow as she pursues her college degree, working on his 39-acre ranch on the outskirts of Bend, riding horses, and keeping in shape for the rigors of his job – yes, he has had to chase bad guys.
Oh – and he wants to be your next Deschutes County Sheriff.