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March 25, 2017
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Robert G. Rasmussen, a Cotati original passes

By: Robert Stewart
March 3, 2017
‘Raz,’ who served City of Cotati for 35 years and after whom police facility is named, dies at age of 91

Special to The Voice

Robert (Bob) G. Rasmussen, a dedicated Reserve Police Officer who served the City of Cotati for 35 years, passed away on Wednesday Feb. 22, 2017 at the age of 91.

Bob was affectionately nicknamed “Raz” by his co-workers throughout his many years of service.  He began his volunteer law enforcement career in 1965 as a Reserve Police Officer, just a couple years after the City of Cotati incorporated.  In 1966, adding to his volunteerism efforts, Bob also served a two-year term as a Cotati city councilman.

In the early days after Cotati’s incorporation, the city’s first police chief was the only paid police officer.  This, of course, changed over time.  Part-time and full-time staff was hired, and the police department was supplemented with volunteer police officers.  Bob was one of those original reserve officers and he served in that capacity far longer than anyone else.  In many respects, the Reserve Police Officer program for the Cotati Police Dept. was the backbone of the organization.  In the 1970s and 1980s it was not uncommon to have 10-15 police reserves to supplement the efforts of six or seven full-time officers.

For Bob, the security of local businesses was often his primary focus while he worked the night shift, getting out of the police car to “shake” doors ensuring they were locked.  These efforts were supplemented by Bob shining the police car spotlight at the businesses’ exterior as he drove by.  While this practice no doubt was a huge deterrent to burglaries, it did result in higher equipment costs because of the number of burned out spotlights that needed to be replaced.  Bob was truly the “spotlight king” of Cotati.

During his 35-year career, Bob volunteered thousands of hours – patrolling, transporting individuals to jail and providing basic police services.  In 1989, then Reserve Police Capt. Rasmussen received the Exemplary Professional Service Award from the state Attorney General.  In addition, on two occasions Bob was the recipient of the Meritorious Service award from the California Reserve Police Officer’s Association.

One of Bob’s proudest moments was on Sept. 11, 2002 when the City Council held a ground breaking ceremony for the new police facility that would be constructed next to Cotati City Hall.  During this ceremony the facility was officially dedicated to Bob as the Robert “Raz” Rasmussen Police Facility and now the building honorably bears his name above the front entrance. 

Bob, while a quiet individual, truly gave of himself while volunteering as a Reserve Police Officer for all of those years.  He will be missed by all who worked with him and we salute his efforts.  Bob is survived by his loving daughter Sandra Brown, grandchildren; Todd Brown, Jennifer Reed and Jeff Brown, and great grandchildren Kate Reed and JJ Brown.  He was preceded in death by his wife June, father George, mother Lena and his brother Stanley.  A longtime resident of Cotati and Sonoma County, Bob was a cabinet maker by trade and also served in the United States Navy.  

As my friend for over 42 years, Raz and I shared many experiences including golf which he loved and was able to play into his late 80’s.  A Celebration of Life will be held at a future time.

Rest in peace my friend!   

Robert Stewart is the retired Cotati Police Chief.