For Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the women of the Washington State Patrol (WSP). Get to know Assistant Division Commander Katie Rasmussen. She has been with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) since 2013, and in the WSP Fire Training Division since 2015. While there, she’s been in various roles, but currently serves as the Assistant Division Commander and Public Information Officer at the Fire Training Academy.
What do you like to do during your time away from the job?
I was born and raised in the King County area. I have been married to my loving husband since 2011, I have one daughter who is the light of my life, and two dogs who are my fur-babies. Beyond work and family, music is my other passion, and my husband and I have passed down our love of music to our daughter. Now and again, I get asked to sing the National Anthem for a Fire Department, graduation, or our Memorial Foundation. I also love working with my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, being a dance mom (a nice one), taking our dogs on a walk, swimming, going on family adventures to places we have never been, watching a fun movie, or binge watch a series.
What drew you to working for the agency, specifically the Fire Protection Bureau (FPB)?
I originally started my career with WSP as a 911 Dispatcher. Although I loved being a dispatcher and still miss aspects of that job, I looked into other career paths within the WSP. I admired what the agency stands for and how it operates with transparency and humility. Once I started working for the Fire Training Division within FPB, I found a family of co-workers that truly make it hard to consider working anywhere else. Ultimately, I really enjoy working here because what I do serves a higher purpose and because I love the people I work with.
What is your proudest moment while working for the FPB?
My proudest moment was working with Camp Blaze in 2022. At the time, I was in an acting role as the Commander- for the first time- while my supervisor was out on vacation. Camp Blaze is an all-female led youth fire camp for girls ages 16 to 18 years old, instructed by all female firefighters. I loved seeing the girls thrive, and although I experienced many challenges from equipment breaking down, props not being operational, facilities having major issues, and miscommunication between personnel, I was able to handle every obstacle that was thrown at me. I also learned from all of the amazingly powerful and intelligent women that were supporting me that week, and I got to watch the young participants grow with excitement to want to become a firefighter someday.
What challenge/s, if any, did you face before obtaining your current position and how did you overcome them?
I’ve honestly never felt challenges were something I needed to overcome. I believe I learned this from my mother who ran her own business and raised me as a single working mom for much of my life. A challenge is not an obstacle, it is an opportunity to learn. I think life is full of challenges every day and you just have to learn how to handle the situation and you will be more prepared if you are faced with a similar challenge in the future. I honestly believe having this frame of mind keeps things in perspective and makes a challenge just another task to accomplish throughout your day.
What do you want to accomplish while in your position?
I want to help Fire Departments have the best-qualified candidates, our campus to have industry leading facilities, our employees to love where they work and have upward mobility for career level advancements. Additionally, I want firefighters to come to the FTA because we offer the highest level of training available, as I feel that we are the leader in fire and emergency services.
How do you celebrate equality in the workplace?
By being yourself, but feeling accepted and understood by those around you. If you have the confidence, knowledge, and experience to know you are making the right decisions then you will be celebrated and equal in your workplace. Strive to do better, be humble, be creative, and own your mistakes when you make them. I believe striving for inclusion and acceptance within your workplace helps foster progression. If you want to move the needle try accepting people where they are now and then guide them to where they need/want to be.