Brain Tumor Can’t Keep Badge #74 Off The Job

Paul Bass Photo Digging through a pile of warrants, Peter Krause came across a kidnapping and assault case more than a year old. He pulled together a package of records so detectives could hit the street to bring the suspect in.

It wasn’t as fun as walking the Wooster Square beat and nabbing drivers who blow through stop signs. Or helping track down a robber who’d been preying on neighbors.

But it was work. Work that matters. And Krause was grateful to be doing it. Given the tumor that resides permanently in his brain and keeps trying to grow bigger.

After five years of chemotherapy, then a grueling recent round of radiation treatments, Krause maintains a daily determination to fight—to fight his own cancer, and to help New Haven fight crime, however he can.

He has no intention of sitting home or giving up on his future at 46 years old. In fact, he just got married.

Even while undergoing chemo, he was able to remain on the walking beat. The recent radiation proved too draining to keep walking, but it couldn’t keep him off the job. He made the switch to light duty and dived into it.

“I’m not a stay-at-home-on-disability kind of guy. I’m an old-fashioned guy; I’m just hardworking. I love my job. I’m not going to be miserable,” Krause said during an interview in the police department’s spare second-floor lounge.

“I can be miserable my whole life. Or I can look at the positive things in life.”

In choosing the latter, Krause has inspired his colleagues, who have rallied around him. They held a benefit party at Vandome recently to help Krause with out-of-pocket medical expenses. Current city cops, retired city cops, out-of-town cops, and Wooster Square neighbors who gave him an “officer of the year” award last year all turned out.

“All he wanted to do is get back to work [after radiation]. He has an amazing work ethic,” said Lt. Rebecca Sweeney, his supervisor in Wooster Square.

“Pete is one of our most remarkable patients,” said Kevin H. Becker, one of Krause’s doctors at the Smilow Cancer Hospital. “His ability to maintain a normal life in the face of such a treatment plan is rather extraordinary.”

Dire Diagnosis

Cancer docs became a fixture in Krause’s life in 2006, when they discovered his tumor. He was diagnosed with anapolastic oligoastrocytoma.  He had an operation that August. They removed 90 percent of it. But that last 10 percent proved unreachable.

He underwent chemotherapy on and off for years, in spurts. A lot of people lose their hair during chemotherapy. A lot of people lose the energy to go to work. Krause kept his hair. And he kept coming to work—on light duty for a while, then back in Wooster Square. He has walked a beat in every district in the city; Wooster Square became his turf, and he grew close to neighbors.

“The chemo was basically keeping [the tumor] at bay. It wasn’t shrinking it,” he said.

Then he learned last year that the tumor was growing again. He needed to undergo more intense treatment—radiation.

He figured he could handle it the way he handled the chemo. He scheduled treatments for the morning, figuring he’d walk the beat in the afternoon.

That lasted three days. He found he was exhausted, unable to concentrate. He decided he needed to go inside on light duty again. “I’m not going to be a danger to my brother and sister officers that I can’t help them. I’m not going to be a danger to myself.”

And this time he did lose much of his hair.

He was able to push himself to be useful inside 1 Union Ave. First he answered phones, did paperwork, distributed mail for then-patrol supervisor Capt. Joann Peterson. Next he switched to a similar gig in the chief’s office. Finally he landed in the records division, tackling the backlog of warrants. Each day he gets 10 to 12 warrants ready to be served. He researches the cases, prints out reports, prepares folders, then delivers them to supervisors. Sometimes they’ll discuss which cops it makes sense to send out.

Light duty took some getting used to for a hands-on guy drawn to out-in-the-community contact. (He’s also a carpenter and martial-arts instructor.)

“It’s tough. I’m a beat cop; it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or snowing,” Krause reflected. “It was a difficult transition to not be out there and catching the bad guys. I haven’t given a stop sign ticket since September!”

Staring down brain cancer every day taught Krause to appreciate each day more than ever. To be happy to wake up in the morning. Even, sometimes, to appreciate the fact that he’s tying his shoes.

That he has a job to go to, with people he loves working with, from records clerks who have lightning computer skills to lieutenants and captains who let him know they appreciate his help.

“I was raised in a family where you work, you take pride in your work. There’s honor in going to work everyday and earning a living.”

He recalled his father, Leonard Krause, an Olin Corp. toxicologist, as “an in-the-field kind of guy. When he got promoted he would still be the guy who would walk into the lab to make sure things were working right. He found a way to get back out there” from behind a desk.

Leonard Krause’s son is determined to keep finding ways to get back out there, too. He thinks of basketball star Magic Johnson, who kept “walking around” in the face of deadly diagnosis. The quest begins with maintaining hope, to envisioning a future. On Jan. 1 he married Sherrye, an accountant he got to know at a mutual hangout, the Branford Elks Club. At a doctor’s visit last Friday he learned the results of his most recent MRI: it revealed “some shrinkage” of the tumor. That gives his immune system a chance to keep fighting back. His next scan comes in three months.

“If we can keep it shrinking,” Krause said, “I’ll be out on the street again.

“I’m not going to let it bring me down. I have too much life to live. As much I don’t want to have this tumor, it’s been a valuable lesson. I pay more attention to all the little things life has to offer. It would be easy to have a bad attitude. Where would that get me?”

Krause’s hair has grown back. It’s grayer now. His mustache is as bushy as ever. He’s proud of that. He has a challenge to meet, he said.

“I compete with Lt. [Ray] Hassett,” Badge #74 said. “He and I are the only ones [in the department] who can grow mustaches like this.”


Read other installments in the Independent’s “Cop of the Week” series:

Shafiq Abdussabur
Lloyd Barrett
Maneet Bhagtana
Paul Bicki
Scott Branfuhr
Dennis Burgh
Sydney Collier
David Coppola
Roy Davis
Joe Dease
Milton DeJesus
Brian Donnelly
Anthony Duff
Bertram Etienne
Paul Finch
Jeffrey Fletcher
Renee Forte
Marco Francia
William Gargone
William Gargone & Mike Torre
Derek Gartner
Jon Haddad & Daniela Rodriguez
Dan Hartnett
Ray Hassett
Robin Higgins
Ronnell Higgins
Racheal Inconiglios
Paul Kenney
Hilda Kilpatrick
Peter Krause
Amanda Leyda
Anthony Maio
Steve McMorris
Juan Monzon
Stephanie Redding
Tony Reyes
Luis & David Rivera
Luis Rivera (2)
Salvador Rodriguez
Brett Runlett
David Runlett
Marcus Tavares
Martin Tchakirides
Stephan Torquati
Gene Trotman Jr.
Kelly Turner
Lars Vallin (& Xander)
John Velleca
Holly Wasilewski
Alan Wenk
Michael Wuchek
David Zannelli
David Zaweski

(To suggest an officer to be featured, contact us here.)

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posted by: terrapin on March 28, 2011  4:56pm

Wow! Given how many people stay home with colds and hangnails, this is really impressive. My hat’s off to you; hang in there!

posted by: Very Impressive on March 28, 2011  6:39pm

That’s truly an amazing work ethic.  If anyone can beat this thing, it sounds like Officer Krause is just the man to do it.  I’ll be sure to keep a good thought for him!

posted by: 093 on March 28, 2011  8:04pm

Great Guy Great Cop Great Attitude!!! God has Blessed You Pete!

posted by: NH on March 28, 2011  8:43pm

God bless you.

posted by: Rolling Stop... on March 28, 2011  9:05pm

Officer Pete, Best of luck in your treatment…stay strong. I think of you every time I come to a full and complete stop. ;-)

posted by: Erin on March 28, 2011  10:31pm

I know Officer Pete hasn’t been out on the beat all winter but I still look for him out of habit when I come to the stop sign at Wooster Place and Greene St. We are very lucky to have Officer Pete on the force and the neighborhood can’t wait to have him back walking his beat! Take care of yourself Officer Pete: this is a “tortoise and hare” thing (his favorite story when he warns you about rolling through a stop sign). We’ll see you soon out on the Square!

posted by: DKR on March 28, 2011  11:31pm

what pete has gone through and how he presents himself is what we all should look at,..and keep it as a reminder in the back of our minds as to how precious life is,..while at the same time, the human spirit can endure….!!!!

posted by: Ex-NHPD on March 29, 2011  12:01am

Hang tough Pete.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.  Keep up the good work and the shrinkage.

posted by: wooster square resident on March 29, 2011  9:26am

Great positive attitude.  There is a quote that goes something like, “You have to live until you die” and officer Pete is doing just that.  Best wishes to you, Officer Pete.

posted by: Andrew Ross on March 29, 2011  10:17am

go get em Pete! We miss you around here.

posted by: Morgan on March 29, 2011  10:18am

Officer Pete is great and I wish him the best of luck!  I work at a school in Wooster Square and we are always happy to see Officer Pete in the neighborhood since he’s always friendly, always professional. We have appreciated his focusing on the little quality of life issues that keep the neighborhood safe and clean (like the stop signs!)  Hope to see him back on the beat soon. And until them, I hope to see other NHPD officers walking the beat in the neighborhood.

posted by: Crystal on March 30, 2011  10:42am

I knew Officer Pete when he was on the Wooster beat. He’s a wonderful person and I admire his attitude and dedication. My thoughts & good wishes are with you!

posted by: Greg on March 31, 2011  7:12pm

Having seen Officer Krause working, I can’t say enough about him.  He’s an excellent officer, and I hope that he’s back on the streets as soon as he’s ready.  New Haven needs cops like him.

posted by: Linda and Steve Brill on March 31, 2011  10:22pm

So good to see your wonderful smile.  You are looking great and hope you are feeling the same.  Take care and God Bless.