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Baxter names Maier police officer of the year for 2012

BAXTER — Matt Maier, singled out for recognition of his police work, credited his four-legged partner.

Maier, Baxter police officer and K-9 handler, was named police officer of the year for the city at Wednesday’s council meeting, the first of the new year.

“It’s a great pleasure to work for the city and (Gator) puts me where I am,” Maier said. “He is truly phenomenal.”

Maier also said he has great human partners who have helped him in his career.

Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted said the city decided to begin to recognize their own officer of the year.

“We’re here tonight to award the first officer of the year award with the Baxter police,” Exsted said. And the first honor went to a homegrown officer in Maier.

Maier was involved in two large drug busts in 2012 as the result of traffic stops.

“He took two pretty significant drug dealers off the streets,” Exsted said.

One arrest had a drug forfeiture of $4,000 and one of $5,000. One involved a large amount of hasish and a local individual, which Exsted said isn’t seen a lot in the area. The other arrest, involving an individual with a white supremacist group, attracted the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Exsted said there may still be federal charges involved.

In addition, Exsted said Maier consistently scores in the top echelon of K-9 handlers at annual trials and is typically in the top five.

Maier had a very busy year with the K-9 locally and assisting with other area agencies, Exsted said.

“In addition to that he is a leader within our department in DWI arrests,” Exsted said. “He handles probably more calls than anyone else and that says something for his work ethic.”

Maier is also tactical team member.

“I am very honored to award the 2012 Officer of the Year Baxter Police Department plaque to Officer Matt Maier,” Exsted said.

Mayor Darrel Olson said the city council appreciates all of its officers but offers a special thanks to Maier Wednesday night.

“We appreciate all of our officers the jobs they do and a special recognition to you tonight,” Mayor Darrel Olson said to Maier.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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