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It doesn’t take retiring Colebrookdale Police Chief Chris Schott long to tell you how rewarding his last 31 years have been.
Remembering the highs and lows of his career, Schott talked about his experiences and his deep attachment to the Boyertown community.
“This was a career, not just a job,” he said. “I love the people of Boyertown, and I lived this job even when I wasn’t working.”
A 1973 Boyertown graduate who seems to know everyone, Schott’s many years on the force have not dulled his commitment to police work or to the community. Yet he admits he is anxious to slow down and start smelling the roses.
“When you work full time, when you get up early in the morning and work 40 to 50 hours a week, you gotta’ do three things at one time. It’s all about rushing around. Now I can slow down and do one thing at a time,” he says.
Schott looks forward to doing things at his own pace after years of experiences that could wither even the toughest cop. For example, there was the time several children lost their lives in a house fire in Pine Forge. Or the time a Boyertown child lost his life after drowning in a small pool on South Reading Avenue.
“The kids affect you,” Schott said. “That’s hard.”
But of particular challenge for Schott has been the growing disrespect he has experienced as a man in blue. “Years ago, the public would never think to disrespect or disobey a police officer. Nowadays, police officers are disrespected by not only adults but sadly by teenagers and children alike. It has made the profession of police officer one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs to hold.”
Other things have changed as well. Sitting at the computer in his office, Schott shows off some of the old 3” x 5” cards that his police reports used to be written on. He reflects on this and some of the other changes that have occurred during his lengthy tenure. “Everything’s so different -- everything’s changed so much,” he said.
Although Schott will be retiring from full-time police work, he will continue working part-time for both the Colebrookdale and Bally police departments. He will also continue working with the county as a part-time detective under the auspices of the district attorney’s office.
Schott is nothing if not a hard worker, not surprising for someone who has worked nearly every day since the age of 16.
“I got my work ethic from my father, who never took a sick day in nearly 40 years at Firestone. My mother worked hard, too,” he said.
Hard work aside for the moment, Schott admits he is anxious to pursue some of his other interests. An avid fitness buff, Schott will continue his weekly runs and plans to play more league tennis. He foresees trips to dream spots like Bora-Bora and Tahiti, where he may resurrect his scuba diving gear.
He’s also looking forward to packing it up for a father-son hunting trip with his son, Brad, planned for Montana in September 2013. “There’s a lot of things that I want to do,” Schott says. “Now I’ll have more time to do the things I’ve done all my life.”
But while Schott says he won’t miss rising with the sun, he will miss the people he’s worked with. “I always had a good relationship with the board and all the past boards. And I always got along with my officers -- we all worked well together. I’ll still be part-time and will still stay in contact,” he says.
As for Boyertown? Well, he’s still a big fan.
“It was a good ride and I was glad to serve the community of Boyertown. It’s a great place to live and work.”