ANOKA, Minn. – The people of Anoka and the city's police department are coping with the unexpected death of an officer.
. Chief Eric Peterson says he had a medical condition.
"Our officers are down and they're hurting because of the loss of a friend, and our community is hurting because of a loss of a friend and one of their officers," Peterson said.
He says you knew you had a friend for life when you met Groebner.
"He listens to you," Peterson said. "He wants to understand who you are and how he can be of service to you, and at some point in your conversation, he's going to make you laugh."
Groebner was named Anoka's Police Officer of the Year just two years after joining the force. He was with the department for nine years.
Peterson says Groebner was also a practical joker, constantly pulling pranks on his co-workers. He says Groebner brought that sense of humor out into the community with him when he worked.
"Since his death, officers are wondering how he's going to get back at them," Peterson said. "We gathered … the night he died. It went from tears to laughter in short order, and I think that's what we need."
Groebner leaves behind a wife and two children. Peterson says they were his world, and always came before his police work.
"Every member of our police department, their whole family is a member of the police department, and so all of our officers and our officers' spouses are doing what they can to make sure that his spouse and family are taken care of," he said.
A fundraiser to help support Groebner's family has raised nearly $40,000.
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