Sergeant Gary Hoeppner of the Winona Police Department turned is his badge last Wednesday after 25 years on the force. Hoeppner had worked as a patrol officer, a school liaison, and as sergeant for various shifts. However, “nothing tops the excitement you get as a young officer on night shift,” he said of his various roles.
In a quarter century of patrolling Winona, “I’ve seen a lot of changes,” Hoeppner said. Hoeppner has seen the city grow and has experienced great changes in law enforcement technology. “When I started there were no Target, Walmart, or subdivisions, and we had just a shotgun and radar in our cars.” Now, Hoeppner has to share his squad car with a laptop, cameras, and all manner of state-of-the-art electronic equipment.
Hoeppner said he would miss the relationships he has built over the years. “It’s the people whose back you’ve had and who’ve had your back,” he said. “I’ll miss the people, but the calls and the headaches…” Hoeppner added, acknowledging the challenges of the job.
Hoeppner’s career in safety and enforcement is not over, though. He is taking a position as the Director of Campus Safety at Saint Mary’s University. Hoeppner thanked the city for the opportunity to serve and said he is excited about the new position and the prospect of having a more normal schedule.