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Lake Country Faces: Former chief reflects on his time with Breezy Point police as he retires

Former Breezy Point Police Chief Kevin Merschman is set to retire after 30 years with the police department

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Kevin Merschman is set to retire after 30 years with the Breezy Point Police Department, including 12 years as its chief. Contributed
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After 30 years with the Breezy Point Police Department, Kevin Merschman is set to turn in his badge.

The Bagley native joined the department in 1991, and served as its chief from 2009 until the summer of 2021, when he gave way to current chief Brian Sandell.

“I guess the technology is surpassing me – I’m not capable of keeping up with the computer stuff,” Merschman said. “This isn’t an old man’s job either. You really have to be in shape to wrestle around with people. The older you get, the more difficult that is.

“It is just time for me to get out and pass it on to someone else who has the drive to do the best they can.”

Merschman did not grow up in a family of police officers, nor did he really have a passion for law enforcement as a child. But he knew he wanted a job where he could stay in rural Minnesota - a place where his outdoorsman hobbies thrive - and help others.

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He decided on a career as an officer, which he called “a reasonable living” with many enjoyable aspects. He has particularly enjoyed the investigative aspect of the profession.

In his 30 years as a Breezy Point officer, Merschman said the biggest change has been the city itself, which has “grown exponentially” in recent decades.

“When I started, the population was about 400,” he said. “There were no tarred roads and (the city) closed up for the winter. It is crazy how many houses have been built, and they have paved over my best raspberry patches.”

His dedication to the work rubbed off on his coworkers as well. Current Chief Sandell referred to Merschman as “the model of a dedicated employee” during his time in Breezy Point.

“As Kevin advanced in the department, he encouraged other officers to take training specific to investigation in various crimes,” Sandell said in an email. “Kevin’s influence in our department and the talented individuals he has hired have greatly improved our department’s abilities and benefited the community we serve.”

Merschman’s final day with the department is Thursday, Dec. 30. Though he is officially retiring, he fully expects to keep busy in his newly found time off.

“My son just had my sixth grandchild,” he said. “My daughter has the other five and they will keep me busy … My son-in-law has a landscaping business, and I’m sure he can use some extra help here and there. I’m not against picking up a shovel - shovels don’t require a password or security training."

As he reflects on his career, Merschman expects to miss several aspects of the job in retirement, but none more so than the people he works with.

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“I think we've got a really good group of people here, which made my job a lot easier,” Merschman said. “We've always prided ourselves on the quality of service that we've given … (the officers) do a really good job. They are conscientious, they are courteous, and it shows that we have won multiple awards.

“When you're proud of the work - and where you work - it is easier to stay.”

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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