BALLINGER — Ballinger Police Chief Stan Maresch moved here from Sonora in 2009 and has worked his way up the ranks, becoming a competent and respected police chief. Prior to working for the Ballinger Police Department, Maresch worked for Haliburton in Sonora.
“When they closed the yard I worked at I took the money from my separation package and put myself through the Sul Ross law enforcement academy,” Maresch said.
Becoming a law enforcement officer was a family decision.
“My wife and I were talking about our next move and she said that I should try law enforcement,” he added.
Maresch graduated in December 2009 and started applying to police departments around the state.
“I was hired by Ballinger and came here as a patrolman, making under nine dollars per hour,” he said.
The challenge of moving his wife and four children from Sonora to Ballinger and the drastic change in career paths from oilfield to law enforcement did not slow him down. His past experiences help him face the challenges of the future in law enforcement in Ballinger. Maresch is a quiet, steady, cerebral man who gives serious thought to every question.
One aspect of his job that he enjoys the most is getting to know the citizens of Ballinger.
“I like getting to know everyone and being part of this community,” he said. “I’m very community oriented and respect our people.”
One challenge that Maresch has faced is getting a new police department building.
“We are outgrowing our current building and hopefully we can add more manpower in the future,” Maresch said. “We need a new building and I’m working towards that goal.”
Ballinger’s police department operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We’re always here and we’re available if someone wants to make a report or if they just have a question,” Maresch said. “We’re always available. The officers and I always do our due diligence on any concern that the people may have and in addressing any other issues facing the community.”
Building a solid police department that Ballinger is proud of is one of his goals. One of the many issues Maresch faces is retaining good officers.
“The department has a high turn-around,” he said. “I want to work to keep good officers on the department so that we can use them as the building blocks of our future. Only myself and two other officers have been here for more than five years. Most officers stay for a couple of years and move on, mostly looking for more action. I understand that but at the same time we need to retain the good officers.”
Even with the high turnover rate of officers, Maresch feels like his department has good teamwork.
“All of my officers work well together,” he said. “They work as a team and have great chemistry. When they hit the streets, they’re working. I don’t have to worry about their work ethic.”
Being a good police officer takes work and training to stay up to date. The officers of the Ballinger PD have gone to training in New Braunfels, Abilene, San Angelo and other places. Maresch works at keeping his officers trained.
“I try to see what my officers need as far as training,” Maresch said. “If one of my officers is interested in some specialized training, I try to find where that training is being offered and then work to send my officer to it.”
A strong relationship with the Ballinger City Council is the key to getting the funding the department needs. Maresch realizes the challenges facing funding in a town the size of Ballinger and approaches them rationally.
“We have old patrol vehicles that break down,” he said. “We need some new vehicles because we’re spending money on repairs and parts for vehicles that just continue to break down. The majority of our city council members are pro-police. I’m sure they’d give me everything I wanted but the budget does not always allow for that so we do what we can with what we have.”
Vigilant citizens have a positive impact on the community and Maresch, who participates in National Night Out along with his officers and the community, would like to see more involvement in the Neighborhood Watch programs.
“When I came here and became chief, one of my goals was more community outreach,” Maresch said. “I want the community involved. Originally our Neighborhood Watch program had great momentum, but now it’s kind of leveled off and lost some steam. I’d like to see it get back up to where it was, when there was a great deal of involvement. The citizens are pro-police for the most part and I get a lot of positive feed back from them. We can build on that. My officers are involved with the community and are on a first name basis with many of the people.”
Maresch has to make time around his busy schedule for his own family. He has been married to his wife, Surena, and they have four children ranging in age from seventeen to twelve years old. When he’s off duty, he’s tending to his own farm where he has goats, a horse and a donkey. You can also find him manning the barbeque pit as he enjoys cooking or playing softball somewhere.
“I play softball to clear my head,” he said. “When I’m off duty, I try to enjoy my time off and not take my job home with me.”
Maresch leads the department with a firm grasp on understanding the politics, the community and the funding issues of running a police department.