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New chief is fulfilling dreams one at a time

Like many, Richard Schroeder had boyhood dreams of becoming a firefighter and a police officer. As a man, he's turned those dreams into reality and even excelled in the two positions.

Schroeder was recently appointed Rosemount Fire Chief for three years. He also works full time as a sergeant in the investigations division of the Dakota County Sheriff's Department.

Schroeder is also working on obtaining his master's degree. While he'll admit it's a lot to keep track of, Schroeder said it's not the first time in his life he has had a lot on his plate.

"I wouldn't have taken it on if I couldn't handle it," said Schroeder of becoming fire chief.

Balancing life is something Schroeder is accustomed to. Service oriented, Schroeder joined the Rosemount Fire Department 15 years ago. At the time he was running his own business, attending school to obtain a degree in law enforcement and raising a family.

Schroeder said it was a balancing act to accomplish it all and he'll approach his current situation the same way.

"Balancing things is something I've always done well," said Schroeder.

Schroeder replaces longtime fire chief Scott Aker. Aker served as chief for 25 years. Schroeder said Aker has been showing him the ropes and he knows he has some big shoes to fill.

As chief, Schroeder's number one priority will be community safety. A big team player, Schroeder said he will have an open door policy but he also has his sticking points.

"I'm a real stickler for training," said Schroeder.

Under his leadership, Schroeder said training will be a focus. With the world constantly changing, Schroeder said it's important to keep a well-trained department that can respond to a vast number of situations.

Going forward, Schroeder knows the department has some challenges ahead. The volunteer department has struggled to keep up recruitment numbers and finding daytime responders can be difficult.

He said the department will continue to look at ways to improve in those areas and work with other communities through mutual aid to ensure safety.

Schroeder said he is looking forward to leading the department into the future.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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