The City of Great Bend and Unified School District 428 will say farewell to Great Bend Police Officer Mark Bretches on Thursday, with a reception from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Front Door, 1615 10th St.
Bretches has resigned to join the eight-person Wichita Festivals staff that is responsible for organizing the annual Wichita River Festival. Officially, his last day with the Great Bend Police Department will be Jan. 5.
He was the city’s first school liaison officer, and also served as Great Bend’s youth coordinator. He joined the Great Bend Police Department over 12 years ago, and the school liaison position was created in 1999. Already known for his work with kids, Bretches was the first choice of school and city administrators.
Police Chief Dean Akings said Bretches is leaving the department on good terms. "He’s a valuable asset and he’s going to be hard to replace," Akings said. The chief noted that Bretches headed the team of GBPD DARE officers teaching Drug Abuse Resistance Education in elementary schools.
"He started a number of programs that will continue," Akings said. Among them was the Youth Forum with Alternative Learning Center students at Great Bend High School. He also coordinated programs with Great Bend City Manager Howard Partington, such as the Youth Academy and the Adult Academy.