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Editorial: Police chief Eilers deserves kudos for job well done

After a week of reading about public officials who didn't distinguish themselves, it's time to recognize one that did.

Last Thursday a hoax call came in to the 911 dispatch center about a homicide that allegedly occurred across the residential street from where a man died in a fight July 3.

The call raised the hairs on every law enforcement officers' head.

"There's bodies all over," the young female caller said. "Get every cop you can over there."

Concerned neighbors watched as numerous law enforcement agents converged on Woodland Avenue in Park Rapids.

They watched officers roust their shaken neighbors out of a duplex until the structure was searched for bodies.

None were found.

Then officers converged on a second home around the corner the GPS locating system identified as another possible target.

Officers, including two cops, the police chief, a deputy and a state patrol trooper were quiet, methodical and businesslike. They tried not to raise the concern level by shouting and waving guns around.

It turned out to be a hoax that tied the officers up more than an hour. Patrol cars kept a constant vigil on the neighborhood through the night.

Police Chief Terry Eilers, who raced to the scene, then took it upon himself to have a calm chat with each group of frightened citizens,

Eilers has a forthright manner, but if the chief knows it and it's not confidential, he'll tell you what he knows.

That endears him to the public and his troops.

He explained many times over that it was a hoax. He didn't let his frustration show. He conducted himself like a pro.

Eilers is a hands-on chief that isn't too content sitting behind his desk.

He makes traffic stops, even led a high-speed chase through the countryside last year.

He's a cop's cop. As he drove around the block and stopped to talk to residents he told them all he knew.

He didn't pull any punches; didn't try to conceal any of the facts.

Jumpy residents calmed down immediately. They knew firsthand what had occurred and didn't have to rely on neighborhood gossip to inform them.

They heard it directly from the man, performing a public service duty he felt he owed them.

Friday Eilers was back on the job like always, helping search a shoplifting suspect who'd tried to make a break for it.

But back at Woodland Avenue, all was calm.