Kegley to retire from HPD after 30 years of service

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After 30 years of service, Hastings Police Department Lt. Joe Kegley will retire this month. His last day will be July 21.

Over the course of his three-decade-long career in the police force, Kegley said that he has seen a lot of changes. When he first joined the department, the office was located in a single hallway building near the fire department. This was before the Government Center was located in the city and when the middle school was located at Schoolhouse Square.

He also has had many position changes in the department since starting out as a patrol officer in 1987. He went on to become the juvenile investigator where he had the opportunity to work with kids and in the schools. He also helped educate the school crossing guards for many years. Kegley went on to become a sergeant, detective sergeant and eventually lieutenant.

Even with the changes, he said there are aspects about the job that have remained the same.

"It's no different than what we've done for the last hundred years in police work; we've always engaged (the community), now we engage them different though," Kegley said.

He said technology has been a constant change. For instance, Kegley was involved with getting video on the squad cars and the equipment for body cameras.

Big cases

Kegley has been a part of some major Hastings cases throughout his career. He was around when the "Sweetheart Swindler" from America's Most Wanted was arrested at the Hastings library. He remembers being interviewed for television for that particular case.

He also worked on a double homicide case that led to the arrest, charge and conviction of two suspects. However, Kegley said he doesn't consider those accomplishments.

"It's great to feel that you were able to take somebody's worse day and at least do what you can to bring justice to what happened, but it shouldn't be my accomplishment," he said.

Although Kegley is retiring from the police department in Hastings, he still plans to continue his public service as a volunteer firefighter in St. Paul Park where has been for 28 years. Other than that, he plans to finish some home projects.

One thing Kegley said that he will miss is the people he worked with at the city and police department.

"The city has made great strides in 30 years and it's been great working for them," Kegley said.