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5/5/2010 10:54:00 AM
Town mourns loss of former police chief and councilman Ed Seder
Former Prescott Valley police chief and councilman Ed Seder stands in front of the police department named in his honor in this 2008 photo.
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
Former Prescott Valley police chief and councilman Ed Seder stands in front of the police department named in his honor in this 2008 photo. TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
By Heidi Dahms Foster and Cheryl Hartz
Prescott Valley Tribune

The Town of Prescott Valley today is mourning the loss of former chief of police and councilmember Ed Seder after a more than 5-year battle with cancer.

Seder came to Prescott Valley in January 1984, and retired as the community's police chief in 2000. He served on the town council from 2002-2005, and most recently was the Administration of Justice program coordinator for Yavapai College.

Seder grew up in Huron, Ohio, and joined the Marines after high school. He received his early police training in the Marines. When his term of service was over, he joined the police force in his hometown.

Supporting a growing family was difficult on a policeman's salary, so Seder moved on to other employment for several years. After a move to Arizona, he had an opportunity to again work in law enforcement and joined the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. When Apache Junction incorporated, the community recruited him to help put its new police force into operation. It was there that he met Sharon, his wife of 26 years, and worked with current Yavapai College Police Chief Joe Cappelli, who has made his own mark on Prescott Valley.

By the time Seder and his wife contemplated their move to Prescott Valley, the Apache Junction department had grown to 40 employees and Seder had graduated from the FBI National Academy.

"Prescott Valley was obviously very small, about 2,500 people," Seder said in a 1994 interview. "The town had advertised for a police chief, so we came to look. We went back and talked about it. There was a big cut in pay, but our kids were grown, and it was just the two of us. We saw there could be a future here if the town grew."

Not only did Seder see Prescott Valley grow to more than 40,000 people, he was able to implement many of his ideas in his years as police chief. He encouraged his officers to participate in volunteer service in the community so they would have a different perspective than they encountered every day on the job. His prompting led PVPD Commander Laura Molinaro to work with Special Olympics, which has become her passion, and in which she involved the entire police department.

He was instrumental in the founding of the Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy (NARTA), which trains officers for law enforcement agencies throughout Northern Arizona. Seder was a multiple gold medal winner in powerlifting in the Arizona, national and international Police Olympics.

Molinaro said Seder gave her her start in law enforcement.

"Ed Seder in a way is responsible for the path I took and the successes I have realized.  Without his decision to hire both me and Robert (Ziegler, Prescott detective and Molinaro's husband), we would not be who we are today.  We owe him a debt of gratitude for having faith in us and being able to see what we would eventually become.

"His belief in community oriented policing was strong, as was his sense of community.  The PVPD was well respected due in large part to Ed's insistence that all citizens be treated with respect and dignity.  He was a loyal supporter of Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which enabled the PD to partner with and better understand individuals with intellectual disabilities," she said.

PVPD Officer Gene McFarland started his career with PVPD in 1986, a year after Seder came on board. He remembers serving in a tiny office with just a few people.

"He was taking it from an unorganized, chaotic office to developing the professionalism he expected from everyone. I recall how Ed saw the future for the PD and what he wanted it to be," he said.

Joe Cappelli has known and worked with Seder for 29 years. He said Seder has been a mentor and a close friend, and supported him from his start as a police officer in the valley to his current position at Yavapai College.

"After he was appointed chief, I came to visit, and returned about every year. The running joke was "I have a job open for you!"

Cappelli went to work for Prescott and then joined the Prescott Valley force as a detective in 1989. He worked for 20 years for the department, 13 of them as NARTA's class sergeant, a position he took because Seder saw his potential and talked him into it "in about 30 seconds."

Seder's character is what most affected Cappelli.

"He was very firm, but fair. He allowed me to go out and make mistakes, and learn from them. He had patience, and guided me along. He was very much a father figure to me from the police standpoint. He just had that aura about him, you wanted to follow his lead.

"Ed was an honorable man, and that's how I remember him," Cappelli said. "He walked the walk."

Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said Seder was a guiding force in a growing community.

"He built a modern police force, and our strong police force now certainly was in large part started by Ed's professionalism," he said.

Councilman Mike Flannery said he doesn't know of anyone who was as much a community leader as Seder.

"He affected the town from a government aspect, an education aspect, a non-profit aspect, the religion aspect - Ed Seder touched just about every aspect of this community that one person could do. It kind of gets lost in all of the activities, but Ed was a Marine, through and through. He used to celebrate the Marines' birthday every year with the council. I will celebrate for the Marines this year, just for Ed. He was like a mentor to me," Flannery said.

In a 2008 interview, Seder said he learned three things through his ordeal with cancer - to trust his body, that he has many true friends, and that his longtime faith in Jesus Christ will see him through anything. He credited his wife Sharon with helping him through his fight.

Prescott Valley Town Council will honor Seder with a mayoral declaration in tomorrow's 5:30 p.m. meeting at council chambers.

Related Stories:
• Commentary: Ed Seder made great impact with his life

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 7, 2010
Article comment by: No name provided

My name is Linda Broomhead and Ed was my teacher in Administration of Justice. Ed was not only my teacher but became my friend as well. As I am an older student, Ed was always cheering me on in my studies and telling me never quit -- thanks Ed and I will never quit.

Posted: Friday, May 7, 2010
Article comment by: Bob Irish

I had the pleasure of working with Ed when I was with the Glendale and Sedona Police Departments. Ed was a Marine through and through. He also was one of the nicest guys to work with in the crimnal justice area. he was a strong force in getting many things accomplished for all of northern Arizona law enforcement.

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: BJ Armstrong

My name is Billy Joe Armstrong, I graduated with Ed in 1959, He was a great member of the football and wrestling team at Huron High. We saw a young person become a man way before his time. Ed was always ready to help no matter how small or how large the problem. His real strength was his ability to take hold and enhance the quality of life for everyone and everything he had contact with. We will miss him for sure!

Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Article comment by: Gregg Green

Ed worked with Jo and myself at our Panguitch Utah KOA. He was an inspiration and a joy to have around. He made a friend of every person he met that wonderful summer and brought an energy that was boundless. He provided the kind of friendship we often fail to honor and give to others. He is without a doubt one of the significant contributors to my life's development as a person and friend. Heaven will be rewarded with the addition of a man of few peers now that Ed is there. God bless Ed and his family. Gregg & Jo Green, Huntsville Alabama.

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