Our Program Speaker on September 21st was retired Chief Mike Meehan.  Mike greeted our club and noted that it was an honor to serve the South Lake Community and also to have had the chance to work with Mayor Scott Zerby.  The Chief focused his remarks to the five questions that club members had sent as suggestions of topics he might speak on at our meeting.  The first question was “How was it to work under Joint Powers of the SLMPD?”  Mike said it was great working with the South Shore Cities of Shorewood, Excelsior, Tonka Bay and Greenwood and the Police Commission Board of the four mayors.  When he was hired he did not know that he would have almost total autonomy in the operation of the police department and every aspect in administering it.  He praised the Mayors for being smart people and the support they gave him in running the department.  Most of all he appreciated the great community support of the citizens in our four cities for the respect and cooperation they gave to officers. 
The second question he addressed was “How had things changed during his tenure as chief?”  He said without a doubt it has been technology.  “When I started as Chief we didn’t have cell phones or car phones” he said. All calls came over the radio and you had to quickly take notes and names and addresses.  Personal calls had to be made at pay phones.  Now an incredible amount comes through the squad car’s computers.  “Technology has really helped policing now with squad cameras and officer cams.”  He also noted that policing is now in a weird time with the national distrust of police and has made recruitment difficult and the pool of applicants has vastly decreased to now just a “puddle” of candidates.  Retention in SLMPD has been good and loss of officers is usually related to advancement to larger departments and higher salaries.                                                                                                                                     
The third question was “What situations was your most challenging as Chief?”  Mike said it was the murders of the family and suicide of the father in Greenwood a few years ago that had a huge effect on the community and long term stress on the officers involved.  It caused officers a lot of personal problems especially for those that didn’t have a good support system at home.  He thanked the Police Commission for giving the funds to get PTSD therapy for officers and one of the first departments to provide psychological support on a regular basis for officers.                                                                                       
As to “What is your legacy?” he replied “I’m not big on legacies.” He noted that he was able to hire good people and that the support of the Police Board was significant.  He also put a plug in for our communities to keep supporting the police.                                                                                                           
The final question asked” What are your retirement plans?”  He said he hasn’t made any plans yet as he is still adjusting to retirement but he has been amazed how busy he has been and all of the time seems to be really filled-up.  He then opened the meeting up to Q&A and then Scott Zerby presented him with an Outstanding Service Award plague for his service.