One year later: Hesston police chief calls his community supportive, strong

HESSTON, Kan. (KWCH) Doug Schroeder has been the Hesston police chief since 2001. He has loved the community ever since then.

"Really, they go out of their way to look out for each other,” Chief Schroeder said.

That was never more true than February 25, 2016. Like many small town police chiefs, Chief Schroeder occasionally answers calls. On that day, he was the first officer to respond to Excel Industries. He alone took down the shooter.

Chief Schroeder doesn’t like to be called a hero. But he’s humbled by the community’s response to him.

"Very positively. I mean Hesston has always been very supportive of our department,” Chief Schroeder said.

Chief Schroeder won't say much else about the day that many say made him a hero, mainly out of legal concerns.

"It would not be smart of me as a department head for the city of Hesston to comment on certain aspects of that,” Chief Schroeder said.

But he will tell you, the community's support has helped him and his family.

"I'm doing good. I'm doing good. We have good people around us,” Chief Schroeder said.

And, Chief Schroeder adds, he doesn't deserve any special recognition.

"You know that crime commission award. Anytime somebody brings that up, I want to make sure that people know this was a lot of good people that had pre-trained, mentally prepared, and then could physically complete the tasks that were necessary,” Chief Schroeder said.

What's necessary now, is community strength. Something this police chief says isn't lacking in his town.

“You know back in the early 90's--the tornado that came through--again, a chance where a community could say let’s fold, build elsewhere, do something else. But that community pride doesn't let you. That love for your neighbor and fellow man doesn't let you make that decision,” Chief Schroeder said.