Judy Babcock said her final farewell last Thursday after 28 years with the Anoka Police Department.
Babcock was hired in 1984 by Chief Andy Revering as the administrative assistant to both the chief and police captain.
While she held this title for nearly three decades, the job changed a great deal during her tenure.
When she joined APD, police reports were hand-written and she typed up carbon copies on an IBM Selectric typewriter. Then came the mainframe computer that took up what are now several offices in city hall.
Now officers have laptop computers in their squad cars.
Chief Phil Johanson said Babcock’s North Dakota farm upbringing was always evident in how she did her job.
“You can just tell she was raised on a farm,” he said. “She comes to work and she works hard.”
Babcock was raised on a dairy farm near New England, N.D., in the southwestern corner of the state, near Dickinson. She earned a teaching degree and taught for two years in small towns in Montana and North Dakota. For six years she also worked for the North Dakota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board in secretarial and training. When the organization was downsized Babcock came to Minnesota looking for work. After spending a year as a administrative assistant to the executive director at Dain Bosworth, she was interested in being Revering’s administrative assistant.
“I applied and was rejected because I did not have shorthand,” said Babcock. “Two months later I got a call asking me to interview because the chief had decided shorthand wasn’t necessary. We hit it off immediately and the rest is history.”
Babcock has also been responsible for coordinating special events hosted by the police department, including the annual Anoka Anti-Crime Commission’s fundraising breakfast, the department’s open house as well as its annual awards ceremony.
“I enjoyed the challenges,” Babcock said. “Putting on the best events, creating the best displays, programs and publications.”
She has also enjoyed meeting new people and learning new things.
Babcock also served as the police department’s historian.
“She knows about everything and so much about the department’s history and she has worked hard to keep the Anoka Police Department’s history intact to be passed on,” said Johanson.
She clipped articles from newspapers, saved photos and put together scrapbooks.
Over the years Babcock says she has been proud of working for the city of Anoka, but recent budget cuts that have resulted in staff cuts for the department have been frustrating.
During her April 25 farewell reception, Babcock was also included in an Anoka Police Department tradition when she was presented with a retirement quilt by retired Chief Ed Wilberg. The quilts are all made by Wilberg’s wife Mary.
He said Babcock brought to mind, “dependability and reliability, some things that are in short order these days.”
Wilberg worked closely with Babcock during his time as captain and chief.
“You are only as good as the people around you,” he said.
The current chief also commended Babcock on her steadfast service.
“”You always have treated people with respect,” said Johanson. “You have made the Anoka Police Department a much better place.”
Babcock and her husband Chuck live on an acreage in St. Francis and she is looking forward to having more time to travel in her retirement.
Mandy Moran Froemming is at firstname.lastname@example.org