Stafford Leader

Brummer, Fritz Cruise Into Police Retirement

Quarter-Century Service, Especially to Students
By DAVID BIGGY | Aug 09, 2019
Courtesy of: Stafford Police Department MADE THEIR MARK: Retired police officers Chris Fritz (left) and Ron Brummer prepare to hack up a cake during their send-off at Stafford Town Hall on June 28.

Stafford Township — Looking back through the past 25 years and realizing how many thousands of children on whom he made an impact, Chris Fritz can hardly hold back the emotion. Ron Brummer looks back at the past 26 years and fully understands that feeling.

“I know we made a difference,” Fritz said, a few days after he and Brummer retired from the Stafford Township Police Department. “It sounds like a cliché, but it’s absolutely true, especially in our case. We wanted to get into police work because we really wanted to make an impact in the community. It took me every day to be out there and make sure people understood that we were here to serve the community, because we genuinely care about people. We wanted to build a trust between the community and our police department.”

Ask any of Southern Regional High School’s graduates since 2003, when Brummer took the school resource officer position, and you’re likely to hear many positive things about him. Same goes for any of the thousands of DARE graduates who learned substance abuse prevention from Fritz. Then again, that’s what happens when a police officer spends most of his career helping youngsters.

“We used to have so many kids in our office at the high school. A lot of times I had to sweep them out of there and tell them to go back to class,” said the 50-year-old Brummer. “Over the years, the way I dealt with the kids was to treat them with understanding and respect. And those kids who had a negative perception of law enforcement, they were the ones I worked on.”

Growing up in Stafford, Brummer and Fritz took slightly different paths toward police careers. The nephew of Stafford Police Capt. Walter Brummer, Ron seemed destined for law enforcement. Fritz, whose father was a military police officer in the Marine Corps, initially wanted to be a Marine. Playing the guitar and music captured his interest during his teens. But that didn’t last too long.

“I came to the realization, at about 19 and being frustrated with the music industry and its lack of professionalism, it was time to change direction,” said Fritz, 46. “So I cut my hair – it was really long at the time – and went to the police academy.”

While Brummer never worked anywhere but within the confines of his hometown police department, Fritz originally hoped to land a spot with the New Jersey State Police. Instead, he ended up as a part-time officer in Seaside Park. In 1994, following a slew of retirements in Stafford, he was hired by his hometown department.

During their careers, both Fritz and Brummer spent 11 years as patrolmen. Eventually, Brummer ended up at Southern Regional, and spent the last 16 years as the school resource officer. Fritz finally settled into the community policing role in 2010.

Along the way, they had their share of serious situations, as well as lighter moments.

“One of the more shocking situations I had to deal with was when I had to make an arrest for cocaine possession and distribution,” Brummer said. “It was the only arrest I ever made for possession and distribution of cocaine. And it was a 14-year-old freshman at the high school. She was attempting to sell cocaine in school. And I was baffled.”

Besides one vehicle stop that Fritz and Officer Chris Mulch made while working the midnight shift – an elderly man and his son claimed to be on their way to a 5 p.m. doctor appointment at 4:30 a.m. in the dead of winter – another bizarre time during Fritz’s stint involved a burglary suspect who literally left behind something in exchange for the things he swiped from the residence.

“This guy hit a lot of houses in Beach Haven West, between 10 and 20 of them, and it was going on for while,” he said. “But the guy was doing these burglaries and defecating inside the houses he was burglarizing. It was crazy.”

Nonetheless, Brummer and Fritz would not have wanted to miss their experiences.

“We both loved our jobs, at the school and at headquarters. There was never a day I walked in and said, ‘I hate this.’ Never. And Chris would say the same thing,” Brummer remarked. Fritz nodded in agreement. “Some officers go through their careers saying, ‘I can’t wait to get the hell out of here.’ Not us. We walked into headquarters, or the schools, and loved it. We were blessed to be a part of Stafford Township Police Department, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done here.”

At some point, though, reality set in for Fritz – his days as a full-time police officer were numbered.

“When you’re 23 years old, you’re not thinking about retiring after 25 years,” he said. “But, then, 25 years goes by and you realize this is a young man’s job. I didn’t leave because I was sick of the job. It was just my time to move on.”

But while the road that is full-time police work has come to its end for Fritz and Brummer, several possibilities can be right around the bend for each one. Both have an interest in potentially filling a role as a Class III officer within one of the town’s schools. Brummer may get a captain’s boating license and spend a little more time in his home in Punta Gorda, Fla. Of course, Fritz will likely spend more time playing gigs with his band, The Impulsives, do some extra bike riding and maybe spend an extra few hours learning the dialogue of the next “Star Wars” film.

Neither is going to rush into anything just yet.

“There are still some things I’d like to do, but I don’t want to make any huge commitments,” Brummer said. “I want to spend some more time with my family. But I’ll find some little things to do before I really retire, after my wife’s done teaching.”

For the time being, Fritz is still working quite a bit, albeit in a fun way.

“Once the summer is over, I’ll slow down a bit with the music gigs,” he said. “But I’d like to make my music a bit more of a professional thing and maybe get into the booking side of the business. However, I’ll make this very ambiguous statement: I don’t feel my service to the community is done. There’s more to come.”

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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