By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN When Meeker County Deputy Gordy Prochaska came to Dassel as its contract deputy in 2007, he wondered whether or not he was going to like it.
“It turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done,” Prochaska commented.
After 23 years in law enforcement, Prochaska is hanging his holster up as he retires Friday. His last day will be the overnight shift Thursday.
Before coming to Meeker County in August 2001, Prochaska worked as a police officer in Montgomery. He also worked for the Coca-Cola Company so he could afford his toys and trips, Prochaska commented.
Those who know him are aware of how laid-back and personable he is, but they may not know that he has his own polka band called Little Fishermen.
Prochaska plays saxophone and concertina and started the polka band 40 years ago. It consists today of mostly music teachers. “It’s not just an oompa band,” he commented. “We’re very professional.”
The band has taken him to Octoberfest in Munich, across the Midwest, and even to the Czech Republic.
Working for the Coca-Cola Company, Prochaska decided he wanted something more, and went back to college.
At age 36, he was playing defensive end in football at Normandale College earning a degree in law enforcement.
He chose law enforcement because he wanted to be a different kind of officer than he had experienced. “I wanted to show the other side of law enforcement, where you can enforce the law, but still interact with [the people],” Prochaska said. “Personality plays a lot into it.”
Interacting with others is what he likes about his job as a deputy, and is what he will miss the most.
He is also going to miss the town of Dassel and the people he has come to know throughout the years.
“I don’t think you could find any better small-town living than Dassel,” Prochaska said, adding that people have been very supportive.
“The problems we have here are very minimal, and when problems do arise, we take care of them,” he said.
One story he shared was when he received a call from council member Jack Adams. Adams had set up a trap in his yard to catch a cat.
Adams called Prochaska telling him he caught a cat alright one with a white stripe down its back.
As duty calls, Deputy Prochaska responded to assist Adams with the trapped skunk.
Unable to shoot the skunk because it was too close to the house, Prochaska followed advice from city administrator Myles McGrath.
McGrath told them he heard that if you sneak up behind a skunk it won’t be able to see you, and therefore won’t spray.
Prochaska attempted to get behind the skunk and throw a rug over the cage and then drag it away from the house with a hook.
Needless to say, the plan failed and the skunk sprayed, leaving both Prochaska and Adams smelling like skunk for the rest of the day.
Dassel Mayor Mike Scanlon is going to miss Prochaska as a full-time deputy in town, but wishes him well in his retirement.
“Gordy is what every mayor wants his cops to be like,” Scanlon said, adding that he is very cool, calm, and the kids love him.
“You can tell he genuinely likes Dassel,” Scanlon said.
Because he is so good with kids, Dassel Elementary is hosting an appreciation for Prochaska Tuesday at the school.
As far as plans for retirement, Prochaska has purchased a home in Florence, AZ, (about a half-hour form Phoenix) where he will spend his winters.
He also loves to travel and is planning to do a lot of that. Currently, he is working with a radio station to do a polka cruise in the Caribbean.
Prochaska, who grew up on a farm near Heidelberg, MN, also plans on continuing to restore and collect tractors as a hobby.
“When I leave Dassel, I’m going to look back at the time I’ve spent here and it’s probably going to be the best job I’ve ever had,” he said. “I will leave with a lot of good friends and memories.”