NEW ULM-Retiring police officer Julie Duehring was a bit choked up at times at her retirement reception Friday in the Brown County Law Enforcement Center Training Room.
"I really didn't want this day to come. I did, but I didn't," Duehring said, her voice wavering a little after 30 years in law enforcement, 16 at the New Ulm Police Department.
"She'll surely be missed," said New Ulm Police officer Chip Rasche, presenting her with plaques for her police and volunteer service.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
New Ulm Police Dept. Corporal Julie Duehring hosts a retirement reception Friday in the Brown County Law Enforcement Center Training Room.
A Mankato native, Duehring said she always liked the police uniform and said she learned at an early age to give back to the community in which you work and have a strong work ethic.
With a college degree in parks and recreation resource management, Duehring worked mostly seasonally for federal and state agencies for about 15 years before working part-time as a Mankato reserve police officer.
"I discovered that police work was my niche and enjoyed serving the community," she said, returning to college for a law enforcement degree at Minnesota State Mankato followed by skills training in Hibbing. She applied with the New Ulm Police Dept., since she has family ties here, including some of New Ulm's first pioneers and she knew some local officers.
"I made the right choice coming here," Duehring said. "This is the best community I ever worked for."
She talked to New Ulm Police Chief Howard Zins about a program that the Mankato PD did, Shop With A Hero, in which officers and less-fortunate children got together for a Christmas shopping spree at a local store.
"Chief Zins liked the idea and I started the program in 1999," Duehring said. "Local support grew. We gave more than 250 children a brighter Christmas since then. The program grew from just law enforcement officers to include Emergency Medical Technicians, firefighters and National Guard soldiers."
Duehring said community policing is a vital tool she has become very involved with and enjoyed. Her list includes the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Minnesota, the Brown County Triad group, National Night Out and Shop With A Hero.
"I'm going to miss my co-workers, the community which was very generous in its support of volunteer organizations, and the work, but not the night shifts," Duehring added. "It's been a great career. I have lots of terrific memories. Now it's time to start another journey. I'm going to enjoy more camping, fishing, photography, traveling and gardening."
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.