ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Chief deputy retires badge after 25 years in law enforcement

“Knowing over the last couple of years that Dave’s service is coming to an end, I've really just tried to be a sponge around him. Dave's attention to detail is really second to none around here, I can say that pretty confidently," said Lt. Adam Kronstedt.

071821.N.BD.DaveFischerRetires1.jpg
Crow Wing County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Dave Fischer has announced his retirement from the department. Starting as a jailer and ending as the chief deputy, Fischer talks about his 25 years in law enforcement. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard and Chief Deputy Dave Fischer like to contrast their styles as salt and pepper, yin and yang.

They have opposite personalities, but that has proven a success in getting the job done while the two have filled the top two posts of the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Goddard took over as sheriff in 2019 and named Fischer as the department’s second in command.

That partnership, however, will soon be coming to an end as Fischer is retiring at the end of this month.

Dave Fischer Submitted
Chief Deputy Dave Fischer of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office is retiring his position at the end of the month after working 25 years in law enforcement. Submitted Photo

ADVERTISEMENT

When Scott was elected as sheriff I promised him that I’d get through his first term,” Fischer said July 13 outside the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse. “I spent some time in Florida this past winter over Christmas and I enjoyed it and didn’t have to deal with work. I decided after 25 years that was enough so I decided to retire before I hit 55. I actually asked Goddard if he would allow me to break my promise for me to retire before his first term is over and he granted it.”

Fischer said his early retirement has nothing to do with the pandemic or the national unrest in the law enforcement field from this past year or two.

“This just felt like it was the right time and when Scott and I took over the sheriff’s office in our roles, we promoted some very good people and I'm excited to let them lead the way,” Fischer said.

More than 110 years worth of experience in the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office have retired in the past three years — former Sheriff Todd Dahl and his chief deputy Denny Lasher retired in 2018 , former Capt. Joe Meyer retired in 2020 and now Fischer will retire in 2021.

New Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard shakes hands with Dave Fischer, who was named chief deputy Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video
Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard shakes hands with Dave Fischer, who was named chief deputy Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch file photo

ADVERTISEMENT

“We got a great group of people coming up but it really sucks losing all these guys, especially as they’re also good friends,” Goddard said. “Dave and I had an agreement and I said, ‘You’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with you, ... but well, you know, life happens and I knew he was going to retire and it certainly stinks.

“ ... It really hurts with Dave leaving, not just losing all his years of experience and knowledge in the office, but I will miss his friendship and not being able to see him every day. It’s going to be tough, but the icing on the cake is we’ve got great people who are next in line to move up.”

Capt. Andy Galles will succeed Fischer in the chief deputy role.

1hr-ohtrr2lfldtrugxfnapnpx3flqnx.jpg
Crow Wing County Sheriff-elect Scott Goddard stands with Lt. Dave Fischer with the sheriff's office at the Law Enforcement Center in Brainerd in 2019. Goddard chose Fischer to be his chief deputy. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch file photo

Goddard said Fischer has been a critical asset in helping advance the sheriff’s office to where it is today with bringing in up-to-date equipment for its deputies and office staff to setting up high standards and accountability.

Some of Fischer’s biggest accomplishments over his 25 years with the sheriff’s office are moving up the ladder from a correctional officer to chief deputy; advancing the sheriff’s office with the right equipment; and heading the remodel project of the law enforcement center along Laurel Street in Brainerd. Renovating the 1979 building — which consists of 26,400 square feet of space and hosts the operations of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office, including the 911 dispatch center — underwent four phases over a five-year period at an estimated $4.45 million cost to complete.


“ ... It really hurts with Dave leaving, not just losing all his years of experience and knowledge in the office, but I will miss his friendship and not being able to see him every day. It’s going to be tough, but the icing on the cake is we’ve got great people who are next in line to move up.”

— Sheriff Scott Goddard


ADVERTISEMENT

“It took quite a while to finish and I was really hands-on with (the renovation) so I’m pretty proud of that,” Fischer said. “Now it’s done and I’m leaving, so I won’t even get to enjoy it.”

But it’s the people who Fischer will miss the most, as many of his colleagues he has worked with for many years.

VIDEO ARCHIVE: LT. DAVE FISCHER NAMED CROW WING COUNTY CHIEF DEPUTY

Fischer’s career

Fischer, 54, grew up in Alexandria, graduating from high school in 1985. Fischer always had a desire to go into law enforcement, but his father Duke Fischer talked him out of it.

"My dad wanted me to go into business and I did it because I wanted to make my dad happy," he said.

Fischer went to Alexandria Technical College and earned a professional sales diploma and worked in business for nine years. He moved to Nisswa when his father purchased the former Koep's Nisswa Bait and Tackle in 1992. Fischer worked as a manager for his father at the bait store and then purchased it from him in 1997. While at the bait store, Fischer went back to Alexandria Technical College to earn his law enforcement degree in 1996.

Fischer with Jody
Chief Deputy Dave Fischer of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office poses with his wife Jody Fischer back in January 2019 during a ceremony when Sheriff Scott Goddard was sworn in as sheriff. The Fischers have three adult children and a goldendoodle named Bella. Submitted Photo

A career in law enforcement was something Fischer had to pursue, after an encounter he experienced at an establishment in Alexandria. Fischer was about 19 when he observed sheriff deputies trying to apprehend someone he was familiar with. Fischer said the deputies asked him to help them apprehend the man, but he said no and he has always regretted that decision.

“I wanted to help them, but I couldn’t,” Fischer said recalling the incident. “This (suspect) was known as a pretty bad guy and if I would have helped the deputies (the suspect) would have undoubtedly retaliated.”

Fischer was hired in 1996 as a correctional officer and he sold his business in 1998. The sheriff’s office promoted him to field deputy in 1998, assigned him as an investigator in 2001 and then promoted him to an administrative sergeant in 2007. Three years later in 2010, Fischer was promoted as operations lieutenant and then to chief deputy in 2019.

3504190+0B3axYh3Ek8hfY0VCUHFtYU1BVHM.jpg
Then-Lt. Dave Fischer points to a steel wall remaining in the former jail in 2017. Fischer and then-Capt. Scott Goddard (center left) explained to County Administrator Tim Houle (center right) and Commissioner Paul Koering (right) the difficulty contractors faced in tearing down cells as part of the building's remodel. Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch file photo

In addition to his resume, Fischer served on the Crow Wing County Tactical Response Team for eight years from 1999-2007, with the last four years as the assistant team leader. In 2007, he became the tactical commander, a position he currently holds.

In 2012, he attended the Hazardous Device School executive management course in Alabama and has since served as the executive manager of the Crow Wing County Bomb Squad. When Fischer was an operations lieutenant he oversaw the dispatch and administrative sergeants, the public-safety answering point coordinator also known as PSAP, emergency management, transport and court deputies, civil service, boat and water sergeant and the tactical response team and bomb squad.

Toughest cases

Fischer worked in investigations for years, and was impacted by a variety of cases he said he will never forget. One difficult call came the morning of June 23, 2005, when a 60-year-old man was taking a walk in the Crosby area and was attacked by two pit bulls. He survived, thanks to a stranger who helped and called 911. The man, who almost died, spent 16 excruciating days at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis before being released home, wrapped in bandages from his abdomen down to just above his feet.


“Most cops don’t talk to their wives about what they do, especially me. These cases are not something you talk about with your family ... but you need to talk to somebody and that’s actually one of my recent accomplishments."

— Chief Deputy Dave Fischer


Another tough call was one former Capt. Joe Meyer mentioned when he retired , where the two responded to a double homicide on Christmas Eve Day in 2001 on Barbeau Road in rural Brainerd. Fischer and Meyer responded and found the two victims, Theodore and Angeline Bieganek, shot to death in their bed. Their 19-year-old grandson Joshua DeRosier was arrested for their murder and convicted on two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, serving two consecutive life sentences.

Another significant incident close to Fischer’s heart was when Goddard was shot in the arm when he was a sergeant in August 2013 near a residence off Sleepy Hollow Road in St. Mathias Township. Authorities responded to a call of a 50-year-old man requesting emergency services, which turned into a standoff with authorities as the suspect was armed and in a tree stand in a wooded area. When the man agreed to come down and surrender he changed his mind and began shooting at deputies, hitting Goddard in the arm. Deputies returned fire and killed the man.

Fischer said he was very close to Goddard when he was shot.

When Fischer was an investigator, he primarily focused on cases involving child protection and criminal sexual conduct.

“Most cops don’t talk to their wives about what they do, especially me,” Fischer said. “These cases are not something you talk about with your family ... but you need to talk to somebody and that’s actually one of my recent accomplishments.

“After Scott was elected and we took over, there was a need for emotional support and we implemented a wellness program.”

The sheriff’s office contracts with Twin Cities-based Marie Ridgeway & Associates, which specializes in law enforcement for counseling and mental health issues.

What others had to say about Fischer

Lt. Adam Kronstedt of the sheriff’s office has worked with Fischer for more than 10 years. Kronstedt said in the beginning Fischer was his direct supervisor and he was intimidated by him. However, he said after getting to know him over the years and working side by side they have developed a high level of mutual respect for each other.


“Dave's attention to detail is really second to none around here, I can say that pretty confidently. The biggest thing is there's not many sheriff's office employees who know the vast amount of things he's done behind the scenes to make their jobs better and safer over the years and he doesn't want credit for any of it."

— Lt. Adam Kronstedt


“At the end of the day, for as long as I have known Dave, he’s always done what he felt was best for the sheriff’s office and ultimately for the citizens,” Kronstedt said. “One of his greatest legacies, if you would call it that, is ensuring that the deputies have really high quality equipment to do their jobs safely and effectively. That was really important to him. And it shows, as all our deputies are well-equipped to do their job.”

Kronstedt said Fischer also was a proponent of everyone looking professional in the sheriff’s office, and he hopes to carry on this tradition as he retires.

“Knowing over the last couple of years that Dave’s service is coming to an end, I've really just tried to be a sponge around him,” Kronstedt said. “Dave's attention to detail is really second to none around here, I can say that pretty confidently. The biggest thing is there's not many sheriff's office employees who know the vast amount of things he's done behind the scenes to make their jobs better and safer over the years and he doesn't want credit for any of it. It's just something he's always done behind the scenes, and it's something I hope I can carry forward.”

Former Lt. Dave Larsen, who retired from the sheriff’s office nine years ago, reiterated what others said about Fischer’s dedication to the sheriff’s office. Larsen said not everyone is able to work in both the administrative and the investigative side of the sheriff’s office, but Fischer had the gift to do both.

Larsen, who calls Fischer a friend, said Fischer did his job well and didn’t need supervision — as “he was one of those people that was that good.”

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at jennifer.kraus@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.

What To Read Next
Who are the people being held in custody in Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties?
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Inmates in-custody in the Mille Lacs County jail in Milaca, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Hubbard County jail in Park Rapids, Minnesota