The city of Sunset has begun a search for a new police chief, and the man named to fill the post as acting chief says he would like the job.
Lt. Phil Olmstead, a 16-year veteran of the force and a detective since 1981, was named acting chief by the City Council May 7 after Bruce Gunderson resigned when a former secretary filed a sexual harassment complaint.Even though Sunset is small, with a population about 5,100, Olmstead has investigated big-time crimes, including the still-unsolved 1982 kidnapping and slaying of 3-year-old Rachael Runyan. He also has investigated a stabbing at a bus stop, armed robberies, murder-suicides and two child-abuse cases that resulted in deaths.
Olmstead says he enjoys his work and hasn't experienced burn out, and he hopes to remain in Sunset until he retires. Olmstead, a father of four, said he has no desire to move to a larger force. Large agencies are too impersonal and officers become too specialized, he said.
The Roy native started with the department as a reserve officer in 1973 while studying law enforcement at Weber State College. Two years later, he was offered full-time work as a patrol officer. Newly married, he quit school to take the job and has been working his way up in the department ever since.
He said he still is disturbed by the Runyan case and continues to work on it. Runyan was abducted from a playground next to her home where she'd been playing with her brothers. Her body was found three weeks later in Morgan Canyon.
"It's been quite a mind-boggling case. It's still an active case; we're developing leads and following up on them still. A case like that is on your mind all the time," Olmstead said.
"I still tell Elaine we're going to get that guy," he said, referring to Rachael's mother.