Local police officer retires, againWhen Gary Bjergo retired from the Minneapolis Police Department, he wasn’t necessarily planning to spend another 11 years and one month in law enforcement.
By: Laura Kruse, New Richmond News
When Gary Bjergo retired from the Minneapolis Police Department, he wasn’t necessarily planning to spend another 11 years and one month in law enforcement.
But that’s exactly what he did.
Bjergo has retired from his part-time position as a sworn officer of the Roberts Police Department. He was presented with a plaque last week in honor of his service to the community.
Bjergo, of Rice Lake, said he retired from the MPD in 1998 after working first as a patrol officer and then as a crash reconstructionist.
It was his job as a trainer for the MPD that eventually led him to Roberts, he said. One of his former students, Bryan Schafer, was working as the part-time chief in Roberts when Bjergo retired.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to come work in Wisconsin for Good Neighbor Days,’” Bjergo said with a chuckle. He agreed and was sworn in by Schafer for a three-year term as a part-time officer. After three years he either had to quit or take a three-week course for training.
“I got close to three years and decided what the heck,” Bjergo said.
Since then, he’s worked 10-12 days a year in Roberts, he estimated.
“I love dealing with people. I like to talk with the community and show that there’s an actual decent person behind the badge,” Bjergo said. “To me that’s what police work is all about.”
For five or six years, kids have been getting their first interaction with Bjergo at a young age. He’s helped fingerprint the St. Croix Central kindergartners. That’s something he plans to keep doing in his retirement, he said.
Bjergo was and still is the Roberts Police Department firearms instructor. Officers need to qualify with their service weapons at least once each year, Bjergo explained.
“If they (weapons) need to be used, they (officers) can hit what they’re shooting at,” he said.
Bjergo had to get special certification to teach the class. He runs it twice a year for the RPD.
He’s also certified to teach self defense classes required for those applying for a Minnesota concealed carry permit, he said.
Bjergo said he plans to stay a familiar face around the village, but without the badge.
“I’ll probably show up and spend some time as a citizen at Good Neighbor Days,” he said. He’s also volunteered to help with any needs the department has, he said.
Signing on to the department 11 years ago isn’t something he’s regretted, he said.
“It was fun. It really was,” he said.