Dave Kassner

Ketchum Police Chief Dave Kassner, a certified cycling instructor with the League of American Cyclists, has focused on pedestrian and bicycle safety issues throughout his 34-year career. In partnership with Higher Ground, Kassner founded Ketchum’s annual Bike Rodeo safety program.

After 34 years with the Ketchum Police Department, police chief and longtime veteran of the force Dave Kassner shared news of his retirement on Monday.

But Kassner—a familiar face around the community—has no plans to leave town just yet. The Two Rivers, Wis., native and his wife, Colleen, in fact, plan to do more of what brought them to the Wood River Valley in the first place: skiing.

“We’re going to be able to do all of the things that we moved here for. We’re pretty excited about that,” Kassner said. “We are also looking forward to doing more volunteer work and traveling.”

Prior to his appointment as police chief in 2014, Kassner, who started with the Ketchum Police Department in October of 1986, served the community as a patrol deputy, field training officer and patrol sergeant. In 2007 and 2013, he brought residents together during the Castle Rock and Beaver Creek wildfires, coordinating evacuation plans and informing the public about safety procedures.

Throughout his years of service, Kassner has also kept a close watch on pedestrian safety and collision hazards between drivers and cyclists. The five-bar triangular displays around town at points where streets and driveways intersect with the bike path, for example, are his doing. So is the city’s 2016 ordinance banning cellphone use while driving.

“Those are accomplishments I’m very happy with,” Kassner told the Express.

The police chief was also instrumental in creating Ketchum’s annual Children’s Bike Safety Rodeo program, held in partnership with Higher Ground.

“From the [Blaine County Sheriff’s Office] Lunch Program to the bike rodeo, I’ve worked hard at keeping members of my department involved with kids,” Kassner said.

According to Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw, Kassner won’t just be remembered for keeping people safe over holiday weekends, educating tourists on local ordinances and making sure no dog or child is left in a hot car.

“Dave has built trusted relationships with Ketchum residents and visitors. His demeanor and approach to difficult situations has earned him a great deal of respect in the community,” Bradshaw said. “Dave has been a calming constant for [Ketchum].”

Before Kassner officially retires on Aug. 31, residents will have the chance to wish him well at a Town Square celebration on Thursday, July 30, starting at noon.

“It has been a tremendous honor to work alongside the dedicated men and women in the Ketchum Police Department and to serve the city of Ketchum,” Kassner stated in a Tuesday morning press release. “I will miss working with the staff, but will see them around town or on the hill.”

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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