Ten years later, Det. Keith Dressel's memory lives on

Ten years later, Det. Keith Dressel's memory lives on
Det. Keith Dressel (Source: Dressel family)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Even 10 years after his tragic death, Toledo police detective Keith Dressel  is making the city of Toledo a better and safer place to live.

There's  a scholarship, an annual blood drive, and even an yearly police sting called the Dirty Boy Blitz to remember and honor Keith and his service to the Glass City.

Det. Dressel was the first police officer killed in the line of duty with the Toledo Police Department in 37 years.

And ever since, Dressel's parents are making it their mission to make sure officers and their families are more prepared than they were 10 years ago.

"We did a video with TPD for the officers to tell them how important it is to fill out that paperwork," Keith's mother Larraine said. "If something happens, who to contact, where they live, phone numbers, what they want for funeral arrangements."

Recruits at the police academy have seen the video. Training officers stress the importance of filling next of kin paperwork out in detail.

Mike Navarre, who was Toledo's police chief when Dressel was killed, says his death made officers safer by bringing talks of bullet proof vests and other safety measures to the forefront.

"To this day, I still feel responsible," Chief Navarre said. "Keith wasn't wearing a vest [and] the community wanted to know why. Sometimes a vest puts you in more danger."

That night, Navarre says Keith was undercover and did the right thing by not wearing a vest.

But his death is still a reminder to undercover officers when determining whether or not to put a vest on.

Though Det. Dressel's death still hurts those who loved him, current police chief George Kral says his infectious personality has played an important role in the healing process.

"After ten years, people are sitting down and discussing more of the fun stories. His humor and his work ethic. And he is still positively impacting this department," said Chief Kral, who served with Dressel on the force when he was killed. "We're never going to let his memory fade away."

Tuesday, on the anniversary of Keith's death, the department will hold a luncheon to remember not just the tragedy, but the good times.

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