A man who spent years leading the investigations of serious crimes in Reading has died.
Fran Drexler, who became a familiar face to 69 News viewers over the years as head of the Reading Police Department's criminal investigations division, passed away at Reading Hospital early Thursday morning, officials said.
Drexler, 62, retired as an inspector in 2011 after more than 37 years on the force.
"When you're out, you're out. It's time to go," Drexler said at the time.
Drexler spent the first five years of his law enforcement career as a patrol officer and then the next two as a plainclothes officer in the high-crime unit. He spent the remainder of his time on the force in the vice and narcotics section and the criminal investigations division, ultimately being promoted to captain and then inspector.
"He touched the lives of a lot of people, and more important than being a great police officer and leader, he was just a truly great man," Chief Bill Heim told 69 News on Thursday.
With Drexler overseeing investigations, the police department's record for solving homicides was around 80 percent, above the national average. He credited the excellent work by his detectives as being key to that success.
"I'm very proud to leave here having the type of detectives that we have, and quite honestly, that's what made my job easy," said Drexler, who leaves behind his wife of 38 years, two sons and two grandsons.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 15120, Chicago, IL 60693.