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Charles Town police chief retires

September 17, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Charles Town Police Capt. Louis Brunswick is retiring after 24 years of police work.

"I enjoyed working for Charles Town. I enjoyed working for the citizens of Charles Town very much. They let me protect and serve their city for 24 years," Brunswick said Tuesday. His last day at the department is Sept. 29.

He is believed to be the highest ranking black police officer in the tri-state area and for years headed the Charles Town Police Department until Mike Aldridge was hired as police chief earlier this year.

Brunswick was in charge of the 10-officer department for six years, rising up through the ranks of the department he joined in 1973.

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"I'm retiring because I feel it's time for me to do something new," Brunswick said.

He said his car detailing business, which he started on the side last November, has been doing well and he intends to do it full time.

Brunswick, 49, said he also wants to be able to spend more time on his hobby of restoring old cars. He'll also get to spend more time with his wife of 19 years, Julia. Brunswick said that she's had to put up with him missing engagements and breaking dinner dates because he was busy on police calls.

"The way I see it, it takes a certain kind of person to be a policeman's wife, to put up with all they have to put up with," Brunswick said.

Brunswick grew up in Jefferson County and started to work on a farm at the age of 10.

After a job pumping gas and driving a tow truck, a black police officer, Bob Carr, encouraged him to join the police department.

Brunswick almost didn't make it through the police academy in 1981. It was the first time he had been outside of Jefferson County for an extended length of time.

"I can't speak highly enough of Louie. I really didn't know him prior to my taking over. I didn't really know what to expect because I can't think of a more difficult situation of having someone new come from outside to head the police department you were in charge of," Aldridge said.

"This guy has been totally supportive. We've become really good friends," Aldridge said. "This town is going to miss this man. He is the institutional history of this department."

Brunswick said he always found it more rewarding to help residents than to lock them up.

"I'll miss police work to some extent. The people, the complaints. You caught a complaint and it can be something where you can help someone, whether it's two neighbors having a dispute or what. To me I've done my job if I've solved a problem," Brunswick said.

Brunswick decided against doing security work, something many retired police officers do.

"After 24 years of carrying a weapon on my hip ... that's why I'm not interested in any security work or anything where you carry a weapon. That's just not me," Brunswick said.

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