READING, Pa. - A key member of the Reading Police Department had decided that the time has come to pass the torch.
After more than 37 years on the force, Inspector Fran Drexler has decided to retire.
"When you're out, you're out. It's time to go," said Drexler.
But Drexler will not be forgotten. As head of the criminal investigations division, the police department's record for solving homicides is around 80 percent, above the national average. Excellent detectives are the key, Drexler said.
"I'm very proud to leave here having the type of detectives that we have, and quite honestly, that's what made my job easy," said Drexler.
But after so many years on the force, Drexler said there are a few cases he will never forget, including the murder of Greta Gougler, a 69-year-old Sunday school teacher who was raped and strangled inside her home in 2002. Michael Pruitt from Reading was arrested and convicted.
Then there was the arrest of Marcial Sosa, who is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Erica Martes in 2000.
"Those are the cases that kind of put tears in your eyes no matter what kind of seasoned veteran you are," said Drexler.
But as Drexler finished up some last-minute business in his office, he mentioned Reading police officers Michael Wise and Scott Wertz, who gave their lives in the line of duty.
"You leave here satisfied that people are going to pay for those crimes," he said.
Wednesday will be Drexler's last day, and he indicated retirement is bittersweet.
"You know, it's been a lifestyle," said Drexler. "Over 37 years, it's your whole life, really. And now it's time to just sit back a little bit and enjoy it."
Allentown, PA 18102