Rick Carlson is a veteran of the United States Army and served the San Diego Police Department from June 1969 to July 2004.

During his tenure on the San Diego Police Department, President Carlson worked in patrol, crime prevention, media relations and numerous detective units including Child Abuse, Homicide and the Special Investigations Unit.

During his assignment to media relations, Carlson was the official spokesperson for the SDPD.

As a homicide detective he pieced together a complex case that resulted in the conviction of serial killer Ramon Rogers

President Carlson joined the SDPHA as a Director I in 1998. He became president in 2000. 

As President, Mr. Carlson has provided expert consultation to the Orange County Sheriffs Museum as well as a number of other local historical societies.

While a member of the San Diego Police Historical Association, President Carlson has been formally awarded the following:

SDPHA Service Medal
SDPHA Founders Medal
SDPHA Medal of Merit
Presidential Recognition Service Citation
Founding Member Citation
Executive Board Citation
OPH Campaign Citation
Safe Driving Citation

President Carlson is also a member of the San Diego Police Historical Association Hall of Fame. 

Over the course of his lifetime, President Carlson has invented a number of law enforcement products including an indoor target system to help officers train with their sidearms.

President Carlson has also started several small businesses and has served on the board of directors of local non profits and a community theatre. 

President Carlson is an accomplished artist having painted a number of abstract images of homicide death scenes. The images were so compelling they were the centerpiece of a local art exhibit and were featured in a number of media outlets

In the mid 1990's, President Carlson and his paintings were profiled on the international stage by CNN. Today, those paintings can be seen in the San Diego Police Museum. 

President Carlson is a published author having penned the book, “I’m in the tub, gone” in 2004. In 2008 President Carlson received a local authors award for his writing.

In July of 2010 President Carlson was sworn in as the foreman of the San Diego County Grand Jury.

In 2017, Mr. Carlson and Association Vice President Steve Willard were featured on the television show "Snapped, The Vegas Bray Story."

In his spare time President Carlson enjoys showing his professionally restored 1974 Grand Torino. He is also the co-owner of Code-3 Props, a business that rents historic and speciality vehicles to TV and film producers.