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LeBrasseur leaves a lasting legacy

While it is not uncommon to say something complimentary about a colleague or friend who has passed away, you don?t often hear this:?John taught me things that kept me alive, there?s no doubt in my mind.”That, from Joe Rowe, himself, one of Lynn?s finest and most decorated cops, speaking about a colleague, former Lynn Police Lieutenant John R. LeBrasseur, who died in Arizona Sunday 11 days shy of his 70th birthday.It is somewhat ironic that a guy whose job as Lynn?s top drug cop required that he keep a low profile was so universally well-known and respected.?I?ve been doing federal investigations the last few years and I speak with a lot of people in the U.S. attorney?s office,” said Rowe, a retired captain and head of the Criminal Investigation Division. “They all remember John, or they know his reputation.”The resumé lists more than 32 years with the Lynn department, the last half spent running the Lynn Drug Task Force in conjunction with the district attorney and the State Police. When the task force was formed in 1983, the use of drugs was rampant, with dealers conducting business on the street with impunity.?It was so out in the open,” recalled Gerry Stevens, a retired Lynn police lieutenant who worked with LeBrasseur for many years. “There was really no organized effort to stop it. John knew what he was doing. He was very good at his job.”LeBrasseur?s tenure running the task force was characterized by the doggedness with which he approached the job. And the results were impressive. One operation in 1997 resulted in 484 arrests and the confiscation of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and more than $43,000.?When John worked on a case, you knew he had all the i?s dotted and t?s crossed,” Rowe said. “He was the type of guy that you were comfortable when he led the charge. When you kick in that door, you never know what you?re going to encounter on the other side. You were always reassured that John had your back.”Anyone who knew Lt. John LeBrasseur will attest that he was the embodiment of the don?t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover admonition – gruff and stern on the outside, caring and compassionate on the inside.Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development Executive Director Charles Gaeta was a kid growing up at Ames Street Playground when he first met LeBrasseur, a young police officer at the time. “He scared the heck out of us,” said Gaeta, who got to know the real LeBrasseur when he took over at LHAND.?John was a real ally and a great friend,” he said. “He was a man of his word and he had a major impact in Lynn with the work he did on the Drug Task Force.”LeBrasseur was a standout football player in high school, winning the Monogram Club Award as the top Classical player in the Thanksgiving game in 1959 and ?60, when he was an Item All-Star. He went to West Texas State College, and returned to Lynn and worked at General Electric before becoming a cop in 1966. He later earned a bachelor?s degree at Northeastern and master?s at Boston University.He was chosen by the chief as Lynn Policeman of the Year in 1985 and in 1988 was picked to travel to Saipan in the South Pacific to serve as a consultant to a federal drug task force. He authored an article entitled “Operation Overdose” that was published in “The Police Chief” magazine in 1998. He coached football at St. Mary?s High, Cobbet Junior High and East Lynn Pop Warner; and later served as an Agganis Foundation trustee.LeBrasseur put 100 percent into his job, but he did not hesitate to call it a career in 1999 at the age of 55. He and his wife, Dorothy, retired to Arizona, where he approached recreational activities such as golf, fishing and cycling with similar intensity. His relationship with his bicycle didn?t begin until he was 65, but, in true LeBrasseur style, it became a passionate affair almost immediately.?Two months after he bought a bike he rode a 26-mile race 9,000 feet up Mount Lemmon,” said Dorothy, former executive director of Project COPE. “That was John. He was not

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