Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 20, 2002

LP Police Chief Blaser to retire

By Julie Yurek

Lester Prairie Police Chief Fred Blaser is saying goodbye to the job, but not the community.

Blaser informed the city council of his retirement at last Monday's meeting.

"The city thanks you for your service to the community," council member Rollie Bruckschen said.

Blaser joined the department in 1974, and became chief in 1983. His last day will be Wednesday, July 31.

The council approved hiring Officer Bob Carlson as the new Chief of Police, per Blaser's recommendation.

Carlson begins chief duties Wednesday, Aug. 1 and will receive an increase of $1 per hour.

The council also approved hiring part-time officer Glen Strom as a full-time officer to fill Carlson's position.

Strom will receive $14.75 per hour and begins his full-time duties Saturday, July 13.

Blaser will probably get another job, even possibly working part-time for the Lester Prairie and Winsted Police Departments, he said.

"I have many memories and stories from this job," Blaser said.

"Many that are probably not publishable," he said with a laugh. "I have quite a few naked stories to tell."

One story that is printable involves a drunk man.

"While on patrol, I get this call about a man sleeping in a hallway. So, I check it out and it is obvious he is intoxicated," Blaser said.

"I tell him I'll give him a ride home if he can tell me where he lives. He says he lives north of the post office.

"I'm driving up and down the streets of Lester Prairie for about five minutes and can't find where the guy lives. He keeps telling me that I know who he is. I say, 'No, sir, I don't know you. Who are you and where do you live?'

"After driving around a little longer, he sits up, looks around, and says, 'This isn't New Auburn!" Blaser said. "We did find him a way home," he added.

"Well, no wonder I didn't know him. I had been in Lester Prairie for a few years, so I knew just about everyone," Blaser said.

He also spoke of an event very memorable in his mind.

"The centennial event in 1986 was a very memorable event. So many people came for it, it was a large celebration. We had some dignitaries attend, like the lieutenant governor," he said.

One of his rules in Lester Prairie is 'don't run into the squad car."

"If a person runs into the squad car, it's a good chance he or she is getting ticketed," he said.

"There were times when myself or another officer would have to dodge being hit head-on from a drunk driver. Once, I was almost hit by a drunk driver who ran a stop sign," Blaser said.

With only over two months left before retirement, hopefully Blaser's last memories of his career will be good ones.

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