Support, honor your local police; they are the best

Apple Valley is fortunate to have a caring and well-trained police department led by Chief Jon Rechtzigel. The chief’s message is that his officers take pride in providing the highest quality services to citizens and businesses. The primary objective is to continually and consistently improve the level of public safety and quality of life for citizens. The department is a modern, well-trained and equipped organization of 52 police officers and 12 support staff dedicated to those objectives. They encourage and welcome input and suggestions regarding ways to improve services, crime prevention and community partnerships. The police officers are proud to serve residents and constantly strive to provide the highest quality service. We have the pledge of Rechtzigel to reap many benefits by hiring the best candidates to develop the finest police department in Minnesota. Thank you.

Police Capt. John Bermel has 27 years in law enforcement and has been credited with starting new programs and promoting a positive culture. He has extensive training and education relating to his profession. John has a passion to see people succeed. A recent success story is the hiring of Mitchell Scott as Rosemount chief of police five months ago. Scott worked for 18 years in Apple Valley, the last 17 months as captain of field operations. Scott speaks highly of the Apple Valley Police Department. Thank you.

As a resident of Apple Valley since 1979 and a Realtor in this community for over 32 years, I observed that a major benefit for our family and real estate clients was knowing that police provided a safe environment. This has continued since we moved to the city and helps to make it a very desirable city in which to live and work. Everyone continues to tell me how courteous and dedicated to the community’s needs our officers are and how fortunate we are to have such creative, energetic and devoted officers. They are there for us every day, ready to help us fight crime and solve problems. Thank you.

The police have continued to work closely with schools so that students become acquainted with those protecting them. The designated school resource officers are not just involved in day-to-day student activities; they also spend time with students at dances and extracurricular events. This presence has a positive impact on students by building relationships and approachability. Thank you.

With support from Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland, City Administrator Tom Lawell and dedicated City Council members working closely with Rechtzigel and his department we have all benefited. Apple Valley has been ranked as the 17th Best City in Which to Live by Money Magazine. We can be confident that the magazine looked carefully at our police department and quality of life when making this decision. Thank you.

Many of our police officers have made a significant difference in someone’s life. Many of those officers will never get recognized for their kindness. We need to remember that police officers are people too. They have families and go to work each day to make a living. But most important they put on the uniform and strap on a gun for what? This is done to protect you and me. It takes bravery to do this, so the next time you see an officer of the law, say “Thank you,” smile or wave. It won’t hurt you to show respect. Thank you.

Crime prevention is everyone’s business. Many participate in Neighborhood Watch. The police department has organized about 102 neighborhoods and registered more 160 block captains. This is an effective tool to deal with issues that arise in neighborhoods by bringing people together to focus on the problem. Extend thanks to those involved in Neighborhood Watch. Thank you.

Night to Unite is an effective annual crime prevention event that takes place the first Tuesday of August. It encourages law enforcement and communities to strengthen neighborhoods by reinforcing community partnerships. Police officers, firefighters, City Council members and the mayor were out in force with residents at all registered parties. Thank you.

“To protect our community and improve quality of life through education and enforcement” – this is the Apple Valley Police Department. If you have not thanked a police officer recently, please make a point to express your appreciation for their work. They are so important to our comfort and well being. They are the first ones we call when help is needed. They are available for us around the clock. The officers stand ready to go out and risk lives for us. With this in mind, reinforce with your family members that you need to honor and support them and always treat them with respect. Thank you.

Through my involvement with Apple Valley Beyond the Yellow Ribbon I have grown to know four officers who attend our meetings and support our efforts to assist veterans. Some have also served in the military and understand the needs of veterans. Many from the police department are also available to assist with needs of the American Legion at some of its events. At a Dec. 23 City Council meeting there was a presentation of Appreciation Award to the Police Department for assistance during the July 2014 Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride. Thank you.

Whenever the Fire Department is called or there is an emergency, the police are there. Many were able to visit the Police Department when they celebrated their 50th anniversary in September. This celebration offered a glimpse into daily operations and was an opportunity to meet many fine officers. In August, Officer Tara Becker was recognized for saving the life of a woman who had suffered a heart attack at a local restaurant. All in a day’s work and many acts of heroism are done on a regular basis by officers – we just don’t hear about them. Thank you.

Rechtzigel is very active in supporting community needs. I have known Jon through his police work and his membership in Rotary of Apple Valley. He is often a greeter at the club meetings and participates in many of club service projects and fundraisers. Last year the Lewis House in Hastings needed painting and he was there. When hydrants needed to be cleared of snow last year, he was there. He worked on the annual Rotary car raffle fundraiser and shopped for and wrapped gifts at Christmastime for those in need supporting 360 Communities. Jon is a board member of the School District 196 Foundation. Many other officers are involved in civic activities. Officers are encouraged and supported in their outside activities, all to the benefit of our community. Thank you.

I sincerely hope citizens will take the time to thank our mayor, city administrator and council members for the excellent manner in which they work with the Police Department. The chief and his officers have received numerous emails and thank you notes from residents expressing appreciation and support. All these messages are passed on to the officers and staff. They are morale builders. Out in the community the mood seems to be one of respect, appreciation and support for them. Thank you.

We owe our deepest gratitude and thanks for all that Rechtzigel, his 52 officers and support staff do on a daily basis to make Apple Valley such a great place in which to live. The police officers are all about “What can we do for others?” Thank you.

They are there for us. Support your local police. Give them a “Thank you” call today or email them. You can follow them on Twitter or Facebook. Their email address and the work telephone number is 952-953-2700. Let’s show the officers that we care about them. Thank you.

How to honor your local police department:

• Become a police officer: Take classes or consult with local police officers about a possible career.

• Write a letter of commendation: Send it to the police chief. Write about your general appreciation of police officers and their hard work.

• Write a letter to the editor.

• Wave when you see an officer, give him or her a friendly greeting or gesture.

• Speak uplifting words of appreciation: Watch for occasions to say thanks.

• Do not permit unjust criticism in your presence: In the event someone starts to put down a police officer, speak up and turn the conversation into positive appreciation.

• Sponsor appreciation days at your church, club or service organization.

• Try your best to appreciate your officers: Join the “Appreciate the Police Officers” supporters.

• Add to this list ways to honor and respect our Police Department. You can do it.

Thank you in advance for all you will do to honor and show respect for our police officers. They will appreciate your support and communications thanking them. Enjoy a nice, safe 2015

.by Bill Tschohl

William H. Tschohl is an Apple Valley resident since 1979. Columns reflect the opinion of the author.