Jeff Kazel starts new chapter after retiring from police department

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Jeff Kazel didn’t know what he wanted to do, after his stint in the U.S. Army. He sold insurance for a few years.

But he found his calling, after a call from his best friend. "He was a cop with Duluth police, and he asked if I wanted to do a ride-along," Kazel remembered. "So I did the ride-along, and I fell in love with it. I knew it was the right thing for me."

After getting his schooling, skills testing, and certification, he got a job in Minneapolis. When he came to Duluth, he started as a patrol officer. At one point, he was a Community Police Officer. "We had a program where police officers would take kids fishing. And they’re still doing that. We did all kinds of sports with kids, so they had interactions with police officers."

He then worked his way up to Lieutenant, and the commander of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force. "We did a lot of good. And we’re still doing a lot of good. It’s kind of like being in charge of a Ferrari. People who work back there are just excellent, and they are home run hitters."

Kazel already has a new gig lined up, with the Red Cross. "I say that I came from the Army, which was my green phase. Then I came to the police department, my blue phase. And now, with the Red Cross, I’m in my red phase." He’ll be helping veterans and members of the military in his new role.

But the law enforcement one, really shaped his life. "I owe a lot to this job. I wouldn’t have met my wife without this job, and we have two great kids. And all these people I’ve met in this career. It’s been awesome," Kazel said.

The day he retired is also his wife’s birthday. Dana used to be a reporter at WDIO.