5/05/2006

Congratulations Chief Trende On Your Well Deserved Retirement

Dick Trende, Hudson's police chief, hung up his guns and retired his badge today. Starting as a HPD rookie in 1972, he worked his way up through the ranks and spent the past 12 years as chief.

For me, a kid growing up in Hudson, the early 1970s meant hanging out in the Lakefront Park, jumping off the dike bridge, swimming at the end of the dike, hanging out downtown and downing a lot of things that today would result in prison time and exemptions from federal student loans. I remember when Officer Trende started in Hudson and I remember that he made the same impression on me then as he does now. The impression was that of a nice guy who was serious about his job and approached things with an open, honest and profession manner. He was actually one of the first policemen I can remember who tried to win the respect of the local youth by showing them respect. Most of the other cops back then tried to earn your respect through fear and intimidation.

It is interesting to think back as to what Hudson was like in 1972. Downtown Hudson was the business district, the center of commerce and a place for kids to hang out. The drinking age in Wisconsin was 18 and 21 Minnesota. The bars were pack most every night with long lines of thirsty kids waiting outside to get in. Drugs, mostly pot and LSD, had found their way into the St. Croix River valley.

Most parents let their kids roam free in town. Most everybody knew everybody. Wednesday nights in the summer were marked a dance at the Elks Hall (now the Phipps Center). Drinking, drugs, etc. were main staples of Wednesday night, as were occasional fights with guys from Stillwater. Gas was 25 cents a gallon and it wasn't uncommon to put a couple hundred miles on the old man's station wagon on a summer night. In other words, Mr. Trende joined the HPD when the first half of the baby boomers were staggering and swaggering into a world where the cops were called "pigs" and authority was something not to be respected by the long-haired youth of Hudson.

Dick Trende was one of the first policemen to come into this chemical and hormonally unbalanced valley and help the HPD teach the kids that cops ain't all bad. I've bumped into Chief Trende infrequently over his career and he always to the time to say howdy. He choose to make his home up there on the top of the hill were I grew up.

Hudson has changed a great deal in those 37 years since Chief Trende came to Hudson. People come and they go. The business district has splintered. There's no more benches for the old men on Second Street. Elmer's still riding his bike. Vick's gone, but Verna is still running Dibbo's. There's a lot more hustle and bustle. Despite all the changes, Dick Trende has retained the foundation that he brought with him to Hudson. That foundation is a pragmatic understanding of the fundamental building blocks of human relations cemented together with a good-natured, mortar of respect of his fellow citizens.

We here at ATBL wish Chief Trende and family the best in his next role as a good citizen and fine member of the Hudson community. We commend him for the examples of fairness and understanding that mark his career with the HPD. In case you missed the story about his retirement in today's St. Paul Pioneer Press, check out this excellent story by Kevin Harter: Departing chief ready for 'quiet life'

1 comment:

Dick Trende said...

Thanks JPN for the support. I believe that I know who Luke is. Dear Luke, I fogive you. You are an angry person that has a twisted image on life. For starters I would recomment that you read the Bible, and specifically find the "Great Commandments". In fact I recommend that for several of your friends. You talk about being a Christen, do you live it???