Maplewood detective wins statewide award


Maplewood Police Detective Alesia Metry was awarded the Minnesota Association of Women Police’s “Officer of the Year” recently. Metry emphasized that team work is a big part of her job. Sgt. Joe Bergeron had been Metry’s direct supervisor.

Alesia Metry named officer of the year

Detective Alesia Metry is a team player. She may have come away with the Officer of the Year Award from the Minnesota Association of Women Police last month, but she’s just as proud of her investigative team’s work as she is her own.

“They’re giving me this award for what I’ve done, but it’s not about me,” Metry says. “You don’t do these cases successfully all by yourself. It starts off with a patrol officer, who does a great job on the streets dealing with the suspects and writing a great report.”

The association gave several awards at its annual conference in Duluth, including “excellence in service,” “community service,” the “Carolen Bailey (mentoring) award” and “leadership award.”

The group’s top honor - “officer of the year” - goes to the female officer who best represents the interest of community, the profession, and significance of women in the field of policing. The Maplewood Police Department nominated Metry for the award.

Metry, 51, has been a member of the Maplewood force since March 2002, and says her interest in becoming a cop began as a child. An uncle she always admired was a policeman in West St. Paul for a number of years.

Starting off as a patrol officer, she has had a variety of assignments over the years, including working as a field training officer. She’s also assigned to work with the Minnesota gang strike force, is a member of the Minnesota Sex Crimes Investigators Association, and is on the board of the D.A.R.E. Officers’ Association.

“I love teaching kids, but I could never do it as a full-time job,” she said of her work with D.A.R.E, an international youth education program to prevent the use of controlled drugs.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Metry, who is married and has adult children and one grandson, volunteers with the Special Olympics and Salvation Army.

Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell says, “One of the things we’ve been doing here is focusing on answering ‘What does good policing look like?’ and ‘How do we know we’re doing it?’(and) she does a really good job at answering those questions. I can remember the cases, and I’ve spoken to the victims and (what Metry does) makes a huge difference.”

Throughout any police officer’s tenure, there is a certain level of risk involved. Maplewood Police Department lost an officer, Sgt. Joe Bergeron, in 2010 when he was slain by a carjacking suspect. Metry says she knew Bergeron well; he was her direct supervisor for a number of years.

She says Bergeron had “a huge impact” on her approach to policing. “He taught me that you treat everyone with respect, no matter if they are a victim, suspect, homeless, wealthy, drug addict, etc.,” she says. “Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity”

Proud of her daughter’s achievements, Rosalie Wescott says that Metry was “always wanting to participate, always wanting to help when someone needed it. It runs in the family. Grandma was like that, and when Grandma needed help, Alesia was there.”

Family members can also be affected by the inherent risks of the occupation, something that Metry’s mother is well aware of.

When asked if she worries about her daughter’s safety, Wescott replies, “I did when she started. But now, 11 years later, you just take it with a grain of salt and hope that God will watch over her.”

In the meantime, Metry will continue her work, something she is now getting recognized for around the state. It won’t affect her job performance, though, not with the team of officers she has around her.

Tim Faklis can be reached by phone at 651-748-7814, by email at tfaklis@lillienews.com, or on Twitter @tfaklisnews.

 

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