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 John Phillips and Elizabeth McGuire: Oral History Interview
John Phillips, Director of Public Safety, Pittsfield Township

Interview Summary

Transcript of the oral interview with Director John Phillips and Deputy Director-Police Services Elizabeth Hopp McGuire conducted by Emily Salvette. The interview, which focused on the development of the Pittsfield Department of Public Safety, took place on March 12, 2006 at a meeting of the Pittsfield Township Historical Society held at the Pittsfield Recreation Center, 701 W. Ellsworth Rd., Ann Arbor. Director Phillips reviewed the transcript in July 2006. The transcript reflects his corrections.

John Phillips, who grew up in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, was 21 years old when he was hired as a patrolman in July 1978. This was shortly after the Police Department was formed during Supervisor Robert Lillie’s administration. Prior to that, police services were handled by Washtenaw County. Director Phillips saw the growth and change in policing as the township grew in population and the department expanded. In 1985, Elizabeth Hopp McGuire, who grew up in Pittsfield Township, was hired onto the force. She was the first woman in the Pittsfield Township police department.

Phillips and McGuire have seen great changes during their years serving Pittsfield Township. For example, the department grew from six employees to 104. They discussed the types of cases handled by the department, administrative changes that have been made to better serve the public, and the changing nature of public safety in the township and the country.

Elizabeth McGuire, Deputy Director of Police Services, Pittsfield Township

Transcript Contents -- Outline

  • Introductions and beginnings of the department
  • Past Directors of the department
  • Policing before the department was formed
  • Early cases
  • First woman is hired
  • Training
  • Types of cases today
  • John’s “Pig” story
  • Public relations
  • Public safety millage
  • Dare program at Carpenter Elementary
  • Fire v. Police relations
  • Canine Unit
  • Thanks to Robert Lillie

John Phillips and Elizabeth McGuire

Marcia:
Marcia Ticknor
Emily:
Interviewer: Emily Salvette
John:
John Phillips
Elizabeth::
Elizabeth McGuire
Doug:
Doug Woolley
Ed:
C. Edward Wall
Betty:
Betty LeClair

Side 1:

Marcia:
...,and today we’re going to have an oral history of the Public Safety Department of Pittsfield Township. Emily Salvette is going to do the oral history interview and John Phillips and Elizabeth McGuire, Safety Director and Deputy Safety Director, will be sharing information with us.

Emily:
Thank you, Marcia. Just as we always start out – This is an oral history interview for the Pittsfield Township Historical Society on March 12, 2006 with Director John W. Phillips, Director of the Pittsfield Department of Public Safety and Elizabeth McGuire, Deputy Director, Police Services at the Department of Public Safety of Pittsfield Township. John is going to start by making a few comments, but I do want to in all full disclosure to say that Elizabeth McGuire is my sister Lisa, and she was born in Pittsfield Township. John was born in Detroit but...and he came to Pittsfield Township to go to school. Oh, no, right after school, to start with the Pittsfield Township Police Department. But Lisa was born here. And so if we have time afterwards we maybe can talk about some early memories about growing up in the Pittsfield in the ‘50s and ‘60s. John, do you want to go ahead and start out then? And...and...

John:
Thank you.

Emily:
…you’re going to talk about the history of the department.

John:
Good afternoon everybody, and it’s really a pleasure being here, thank you and, yes, I was born in Detroit, and there’s a person in the room that I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge, because she was there, and that’s my mother [laughter], Margie Phillips, born in Detroit but raised in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, which is about 60 miles east of here. And I just want to say, Emily, thank you for the opportunity to come in today, and it’s great being here with Lisa and talking a little bit about the early days of Pittsfield Township. And when I was asked to come in, what I tried to do is to put some thoughts together and in this regard, so I wanted to talk about the Department itself, its administration and the many wonderful bosses that we’ve worked for over the years. And then some of the activities that have occurred, some of the major incidents that have occurred since the 70s as well.

So if you just want me to go ahead and start and give some thoughts to that process, I’d be happy to do it.

One thing some of these numbers are actual numbers, because I went back to my scrapbook that I found in a basement, went back to early reports that we had, early statistics that we were keeping, and if you can kind of put it in this thought process, that in 1980, we had about 12,900 people living in Pittsfield Township. That was in 1980. Ten years prior to that we were only at 8,073 residents. And today we’re close to 34,000 people – a little bit over 34,000 citizens in Pittsfield Township, which reflects about 325 percent increase from the late ‘70s. Yes, I did start in the Department when it was first formed, but I wasn’t one of the original police officers. I replaced one of the original officers that had left to go to the State Police. Since 1978, when I first started, we’ve had over 225 people come through those doors of Pittsfield Township Police Department. Those are police officers, those are auxiliaries, and those are dispatchers. Over 225 people!

So you can see that the people that have come through, some of them went on to bigger and better things. Some of these officers – and we’ll talk about this later in the interview – went back to their hometowns. It was a training ground for us for many, many years in the early days, but it’s not that way today. Today Pittsfield Township Police Department is a career and it’s a career to be proud of, and that doesn’t come without the commitment of the township board, and one of my earliest heroes who is not here with us today but his wife is, and that’s Bob Lillie.

Bob Lillie was the Township Supervisor from I believe 1969 to 1984. In my scrapbook, I have an article from May of 1978 when the department first started and I would like to quote what Bob Lillie said to an Ann Arbor News reporter when the Police Department first started. Quote: “I am truly thankful Pittsfield Township established the Department when they did rather than wait until we become 30 or 40,000 strong and then have to develop a police force when we’re that big.” That’s the Ann Arbor News .

Today look around us. Today look at the townships that don’t have an organized police force and are fighting daily with the County Board of Commissioners in regards to police needs. That man (Mr. Lillie), in my opinion, was a visionary. It’s that man that we owe the success and a credit to beginning a police force. I am here only because of one man and his name is Bob Lillie. In the room on the other side of this wall, I believe you have a fellowship hall or an open area. If you remember the late ‘70s, and I know Doug and Ed will, that used to be divided and there used to be partitioned offices in there. In July of 1978 when I was 21 years old, I met with Mr. Lillie in one of those cubicles and I told him that I wanted to be a police officer. I knew I wanted to be a police office since I was in sixth grade, but I met with Bob Lillie when I was 21 years old about 30 feet from here, and I said “I want to be one of your police officers.” And he took me under his wing, and he said, “John, we’re small enough to be a family now. I don’t know what’s going to happen in another 20 years.” He hired me and he gave me an opportunity to be a part of this agency. It was a pleasure growing up in this agency, being a part of it from the beginning, being part of its origins, and becoming its Director of Public Safety when Doug Woolley hired me in 1998.

But I wasn’t the first Director. I was actually the sixth Director of Public Safety for Pittsfield Township. Our first chief or director...it was a Chief of Police at the time, was Bill Hollifield. He was the very first chief. He served three years, from 1978 to 1981.

And he was followed by a director, John Santomauro. John Santomauro is currently the Director Public Safety in Canton Township, came to us as a 34-year-old Farmington Hills police officer, and he served three years from 1982 to 1985. Chief Santomauro was really the foundation of our agency to start things off right. When he came, we were labeled as a bunch of cowboys back in the late ‘70s, and some in this room remember that. But John Santomauro had a strong military background, strong leadership qualities, and when he came in put some rules and regulations into place, and made some significant personnel changes. I’m proud to this day to say that I was one of his first shift supervisors when I was promoted in 1982. I was able to attend the Police Staff and Command School that was based through Northwestern University. And he was the second Chief of Police but the first Director of Public Safety that the department had.

He was followed, a short time, by Norm Madison who served from 1985 and resigned in November of 1988 under Supervisor Jack Morris. And then they were on the hunt for another Director of Public Safety.

They found that in a man that both Lisa and I have a lot of admiration for. His name is Ray LeCornu. Ray LeCornu came from the city of Wayne after he served as our Public Safety Director. For ten years from 1988 to 1997 he served a our Director of Public Safety. I truly believe that our success today is because of the leadership of Ray LeCornu. The integrity was what he instilled, the very basic principles of honesty, integrity, and credibility became the foundation of the department. Ray LeCornu is the one that...that made good better. We had some good officers; today we have some great officers. But we were growing and along the way we suffering some growing pains throughout this, and he was the one that instilled these basic principles of honesty and credibility into our agency. This made us on par with some of the larger agencies in Washtenaw County, the nine other law enforcement agencies in Washtenaw County, and you could see us settling in, and under Ray LeCornu, people didn’t come for us to just go somewhere else. They came to us and they wanted a career in the Department.

After Director Ray LeCornu had left we had for a very short time another Director of Public Safety who left the agency. This is when Mr. Woolley and I had gotten together and this was when I became the Director of Public Safety. It was in 1998, but it’s not something that I aspired to do at the time.

We had some great bosses along the way, we’ve had some great townships supervisors, we had some wonderful township boards. And its those people that were part of this administration always kept public safety number one. That’s the reason that I stayed, public safety was always number one from the earliest township boards that I can remember. I know it goes earlier than me, but from 1978 on, we’ve had township boards that were committed and driven to make public safety number one. That’s what the citizens of Pittsfield Township got, and I’m truly thankful for those that sat in those chairs and were the representatives of the people in Pittsfield Township to say, it’s going to be a public safety priority.

So that’s kind of a gradual review from 1978, through the first four police officers of Pittsfield Township, from Chief Hollifield, who I have already talked about, to Jim Harless, to Tom Enos, and Ernie Smith. Those were the original four. In the late ‘70s, the township entered into some federal grant funding for traffic enforcement, and they were hiring full-time traffic safety officers to augment the four police officers as well as respond to calls for service. There was a requirement that you aggressively enforced the traffic laws in the Township. One of those had left and I took his place, so I actually started in July of 1978 as a part-time officer, which was two months of the Department forming.

Emily:
May I break in here for a second...

John:
Yes.

Emily:
...and ask that question about what was the...The police force before you became a...before 1978, was that...the policing...were...were the township’s policing needs covered by the county or...

John:
It was.

Emily:
...how did that work? Okay.

John:
It’s my understanding that the township was under contract with Washtenaw County for a sheriff’s deputy for Pittsfield Township. And it was a brown uniform, it was sworn deputy, but assigned to Pittsfield Township.

Emily:
Oh, I see. Okay.

John:
That’s my understanding. Now, I can’t speak really prior to 1978, but that was my understanding.

Emily:
Did you have...?

Doug:
Can I speak to that?

Emily:
Yeah, why don’t fill in, Doug [Woolley].

Doug:
What we had at that time was a contract with the Sheriff’s Office for a half-time deputy. And we were not pleased with what was happening. We used to say that all they did was drive through Pittsfield to get to the next township. And the response was not very good out of the Sheriff’s Office. And that’s what led to Lillie and all start talking about a full time department.

Emily:
Okay. I see. All right. Thank you.

John:
And that moved us from the four officers, and then a couple of traffic safety officer, to basically six police officers to the force that we have today.

Emily:
Which is...?

John:
Thirty-nine sworn police officers. And there in that same article I quoted Mr. Lillie earlier, there was a report done by our early administration that indicates we logged over 163,000 patrol miles. There were 60,623 hours on the job and that there were 6,352 civil infractions, and 511 arrests were made. So I would imagine that in 1977, 1978, the township board was acting on a report that says it’s time that Pittsfield Township developed its own police force, and we don’t want to wait 25 years, 30 years down the road, and to deal with problems, that the townships around us are now facing, so to those township board members that are in the audience, thank you [laughter].

The only other comment that I wanted to make, before we kind of change to another thought and some major activity along the way, from ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, and Lisa and I would be happy to talk about that. But Lisa and I belong to a very prestigious group as well, and Ray LeCornu is the one that kind of started this. We are proud members of the FBI National Academy Associates, and both of us have served in the role of presidents of the Michigan Chapter as well. This is about 320 law enforcement officers across the state that have been to Quantico and back. Ray LeCornu approached the township board, and they had authorized a number of Pittsfield Township Police Officers to go. I went, Lisa went, and today the Department has four graduates from that academy as well. There’s not another police department in the State of Michigan that have put in or invested more in their police officers than Pittsfield Township body. And, again, that just speaks volumes as to the professionalism and to the direction that Pittsfield Township is going in regards to maintaining an organization that’s in business for one reason, and that’s to serve the public.

Emily:
Okay. Well, what were some of the...well, what were some of the earliest cases like, John? When you first came on board. I mean I’m sure that the type of cases that you see in Pittsfield Township have changed between those early days and now with such a dramatic growth in population.

John:
The things that we’d responded to in the late ‘70s and the early ‘80s, while you were still going through some growing pains and ...you know, going from a brown uniform to a blue one, and trying to get this identity that Pittsfield Police Department’s for real--there’s a lot of people that didn’t take us for real right away. But some of the things that we were dealing with were some traffic safety issues. The Department started with some federal grant money. We were out enforcing, aggressively enforcing some of the traffic rules, but one thing that I remember most about the late ‘70s and the early ‘80s, was the number of fatalities that we had, the number of accidents that we had, specifically on Michigan Avenue, but there were others in the...in the township.

I had made a notation as I was going through some of my information, that we had five fatals on Michigan Avenue alone between Campbell Road and US23 from the late ’79 to early ’80 – five fatalities. And some of those fatalities and most of them that were policed involved speed. There were a couple of pin-ins down there, and some of them that continue to stick in your mind. I look at a fatal accident where a 54-year-old Manitou Beach man was pinned in ’79, and that was followed closely by a 90-year-old Blissfield man who died at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Platt. And then we had two 19-year-old Saline High School students that were driving a ’64 Corvette, and this one I remember because it happened in ’79 that they were heading southbound on State in a ’64 Corvette in excess of hundred miles an hour before the curves were changed, and they hit the wall at the Ford Plant at hundred miles an hour and the car disintegrated. The driver of that was dead on the scene. The passenger lived, and I’ve seen him three or four years later at the Saline High School. I remember a fatal at Michigan and State in which an elderly man from Toledo had passed away, and another head-on at Michigan and Campbell. So the late ‘70s and the early ‘80s, what I remember are some...some traffic collisions and traffic accidents, basically on the Michigan Avenue east-west corridor, that took...that took place. That was my most significant memories of the late ‘70s.

Emily:
Um-hum.

Elizabeth:
The Dellahand murder...

John:
Yeah, It was...

Elizabeth:
...was it ’80?

John:
The very first homicide that the township really policed by themselves was the May 1980 double shooting on Carpenter Road south of Michigan Avenue, which we...which comes to be known as the Dellahand homicide. He was a 26-year-old. Three gunmen came into that home and opened fire. We believe at this point in time it was drug related, but Michael Dellahand was...was murdered in his home. We’ve had a number since then as we get into the ’80s, I want to talk about some of the major crimes. The ‘70s also remind me of an incident that occurred at Gallup-Silkworth, and many of you will remember when a 3000-gallon tank blew up and then there were secondary explosions. We evacuated over 4,000 people from the State and Industrial area. I was working that day, and I remember it, because I was at...on Ellsworth Road at Stone School. And what looked to me like insulation falling out of the sky riding in the patrol car. I didn’t know what it was. I heard the boom, the earth shook, and then there was just dead silence. Now, some of you remember this. I got a very vivid memory of it because of the dead silence, I remember the silence. That’s all I remember is the silence. There was no radio traffic, there was nothing. And it seemed like an hour went by. I turned my car northbound on Stone School, and I started heading to this massive fire-ball in the sky. I thought Ann Arbor was hit with a bomb. But I remember silence, nobody saying anything. And about ten minutes later there was a voice on the radio saying we...we were being dispatched by central dispatch at the time, saying I think there’s been a major explosion in the city of Ann Arbor. And I got on the radio and I said, “I’m heading towards the scene. I’ve got debris on my patrol car and I’m at State and...” At that point in time I was approach the Eisenhower area. And when we got to that scene, it was just total devastation. It did look like a bomb hit it. We ended up directing traffic for about a day and a half it seemed like after that. So

I remember...I remember that the Fourth of July fireworks were being sponsored by the JCs during the late ‘70s and early ’80s as well. And in the Ann Arbor Airport lot over here where we were brining in 90 to 100,000 people for the Fourth of July event. That was big for us, because we had, again, six, seven, eight, nine police officers then and trying to control a crowd of 100,000, you really rely on others to help you for those types of things. Lisa was showing me an article earlier where we sworn in 14 people in in ’85, but part of that we relied heavily on an auxiliary staff. And we still have an auxiliary staff that’s connected to the Department. These aren’t sworn police officers, these are volunteers in our community. These are people who are wanting to just dedicate eight hours a month with us, and we send them to reserve police academy, and in the early ’80s, we had 15 sworn into that unit. We have ten active positions today. That has never gone away. But we relied heavily on some of our auxiliary staff and part-time police officers as well.

Elizabeth:
When did you stop having part-time police officers?

John:
It was under John Santomauro that we had some significant promotions and we were...we were actually going through some contract negotiations as well. And that the township board had already made a commitment to hire full-time police officers and we would stop a part-time position.

Elizabeth:
So that was ’82. Somewhere between ’82 and ’85…

John:
I don’t know the...I don’t know the exact date, but...

Elizabeth:
But it was Santomauro.

John:
It was in the Santomauro...it was in the Santomauro administration. Another event that I had on my notes here because I remember that, and some of these things just stick out. Nobody died but they stick out in your mind. If you recall in ’82, the Hygrade Ballpark group who makes hotdogs suffered a significant loss all over an incident which Pittsfield Township responded in Spicetree Apartment Complex. When I got there, I met a young man by the name of Wells who was bleeding. His lip was cut off. His bottom lip was cut off. And he indicated that he’d bit into a hotdog and a razor blade cut his lip off. And we ended up processing that scene. Hygrade laid off through this...through this food tampering investigation, ended up closing shop in Livonia. Every hotdog in three states was pulled off its shelves. And the Livonia Plant laid off immediately 35 out of 143 employees all over a false report. He planted it himself and he cut his own lip and it was a scam on the...on the Hygrade Ballpark people. Those things don’t come easy but you think about the impact that that has with trying to do a good investigation and not trying to be accusatory at the time. But I remember that incident occurred. And then the years following, we always had these food tampering issues it seemed like where somebody was trying to drop something in a piece of candy, and Lisa and I had been in the business long enough to know that when somebody makes that report, you’re automatically are suspect of that, but people do stupid things. But that was...that was an incident that I recall from the November of ’82.

So ‘70s was traffic, fatals. The ‘80s, Lisa joined us in 1985, and we started focusing on some other issues. And there were some major crime issues that were...were...I don’t want to say plaguing us, but we did have our share of major crimes in the...in the late ‘80s and more specifically in some of the major homicide investigations. I’d be happy to go through them with you, if you wanted me to.

Emily:
Well, let’s let Lisa talk a little bit about when she came on the force and...and what it all...how that all happened, and just to kind of point out where...put that element of the puzzle in. You were the first female police officer in Pittsfield Township, is that right?

Elizabeth:
That’s right.

Emily:
You want to talk about what that was like and how you came to that job and...all that.

Elizabeth:
Well, it’s an interesting, it’s a loaded question, because you know the answers to most of [laughter]...of it. I had always wanted and looked forward to serving in some kind of a capacity. I had a lot of interest in police work. I had a lot of interest in the military. And in 1972 when I was 18, they just didn’t have a lot of use for 5-foot tall females in either the military or the police force. And so I kind of took a different direction and worked in a law office and was a paralegal and was married and had my sons. And then after having been at home for several years decided that the time was right to go into police work. And this was a time where they were just beginning to let people sponsor themselves through police academies. Prior to that, you had to go and get hired, and then that agency sent you to a police academy. In 1985, I was one of the first candidates in Michigan, it was called a pre-service candidate. And that meant that I did not have a job. I was paying my own way through the police academy. And in fact I wasn’t guaranteed a job at all, or that I’d make it through the academy. And so I had come and talked with John Santomauro and had been offered a job as a dispatcher twice, and I said, “Well, I’d really like to be a police officer.” And he told me, he...if I thought I could make it through the academy, to go ahead and give it a try. And I did. And I lived with my sister in...that’s true [laughter]. I lived with my sister during the week, and went to the police academy in Oakland County. That was...they didn’t have a police academy here in Washtenaw County at the time. And over the next 14 weeks became a police officer, a sworn police officer here in the State of Michigan. Graduated first from my class academically. And about two weeks before I was out of the academy, I was hired by Pittsfield Township as a police officer. And so I actually got to graduate in uniform, in a Pittsfield Township uniform, from the police academy.

Emily:
So Jack Morris, hired you is that how it...?

Elizabeth:
Yeah, it was...I had to get an associates degree, and I did that. I went to the police academy. They had made some changes and Jack had the...they had looked at changing the requirements to you had to have a bachelor’s degree.

Emily:
Um-hum.

Elizabeth:
They waived that for me, since I had gone to the academy and had started this whole process while the requirement was still an associate’s degree. But Jack was in fact the supervisor at that time. And John Santomauro was just leaving. So when I started the police academy, he was the Director of Public Safety. When I was actually hired in, it was Norm Maddison who was the Director of Public Safety.

Emily:
Were they...was this a...was this a conscious step on everybody’s part that they really wanted to diversify the police popula—police officers and put a female in there and maybe hire minorities and things like that? Was that a conscious decision? Or was that just you...you were a township resident everybody knew, everybody knew your family?

Elizabeth:
I think that my connections within the township probably helped that along. I don’t think that the conscious diversity came into play until quite a few years later.

Emily:
Oh, Okay.

Elizabeth:
It was actually Ray LeCornu who really...In 19...I was hired in ’85. He came in in ’87. My rank was patrolman...

Emily:
Um-hum.

Elizabeth:
...until he was there. And I told him, I said, I think I should be able to be called police officer and not have to be called a patrolman. And he was...he got me my first badge that said “police officer.” He was very concerned about hiring women and minorities, and creating an atmosphere within the department that was supportive of that. There was no tolerance for sexual harassment. There was no tolerance for any racial epithets or any...It was just a whole different atmosphere.

Emily:
Little less “boy’s club,” little more professional?

Elizabeth:
Much more professional. Much less the boy’s club…

Emily:
And I’m not trying to be disparaging [laugh], it’s just...police departments were fairly military in their kind of...

John:
Still are.

Emily:
Are they? Okay.

Elizabeth:
Still are?

Emily:
And...and it was kind, you’d think the macho cowboy...

Elizabeth:
It was...

Emily:
...picture in your mind when you think of a police department in the ‘70s.

Elizabeth:
I had been in a police car all of ten hours before I walked through the doors. And I had to learn a new language, I had to learn a new culture, I had to dress differently. It was a major culture shock for me, and I know it was for them. And...

Emily:
Was it?

Elizabeth:
I was...it...they had a long-time or a hard time learning how to deal with that. And that was okay. I mean, we went through that learning curve together and we had some rough spots.

Emily:
Can you...can you elaborate a little bit? And I...not anything...Just like what were some situations that you had to learn from each other about? I mean, was it locker room conversation at the office that made you uncomfortable?

Elizabeth:
Well, I didn’t have any locker room conversation because I didn’t have a locker room [laughter].

Emily:
Okay. Well, tell me a little bit about...tell me a little bit about this. You know, because...

Elizabeth:
Well, do we swear in front of her? Do we...do we talk about...you know, what does she see, what doesn’t she see? Do we let her get in fights?

Emily:
Oh!

Elizabeth:
Yeah! Um, do we let her go out there, and well, what if she gets hurt? And should we let her out there by herself? And shouldn’t somebody be with her? And these are all things that...there were two things that were going on at the same time. One was I think that our enlightenment and our learning of what women and policing was all about culturally, and secondly, technologies were being developed that made it and so size and how muscular you were was not the issue. It was how well could you problem solve and what were your thinking skills. And those two things were happening simultaneously.

Emily:
Hm.

Elizabeth:
But even so, particularly we look at about 15 percent of law enforcement in the United States being women, that number has not changed significantly in the last 15 years. What you’re seeing is more women in executive positions, just because they’ve had time to come up through the ranks. But that number stays fairly static, even though there aren’t the barriers for women entering into police work. And so those number haven’t changed dramatically.

John:
And taken from a shift supervisor standpoint in ’80...first of all in ’82, and then Lisa came...comes in in ’85, there wasn’t just a gender issue at that time. It was a...there was a racial element as well. In the early ‘80s, we had a black police officer, and I think we were one of the first departments to have a black police officer in the early ‘80s, he was a good police officer but he had left to go to another agency that was paying more money, and we had dealt with that and...and it’s no secret that a young black police officer that came in that was qualified could really go to any agency that he or she wanted to. And it was hard to compete with that, and it was hard to recruit. At the same time, we were opening the doors to women. And I remember that the paramilitary structure that we all...that we’ve operated under from day one and we continued to operate today, is that you’re...it’s almost an unwritten thing. If one of your officers is on the road and they...it could be a simple thing as a traffic stop. The other car kind of rolls that way. The second car, if you’re hearing the radio traffic, you kind of move in that direction. It was kind of an automatic thing that would have...a police officer was...had a...had a traffic stop or was involved in an arrest, that you didn’t have to be asked to go, you just kind of went. But as women come in too, you’re trying to bottle that thing. Now, if I send a backup to Office McGuire, is there going to be some offense taken? Would there be offense taken with...? So these...this is both sides of that. Knowing that she’s perfectly capable of handing a situation and wanting to just send another car just to stop in or just stop by. You know, you’re battling that as a shift supervisor, you’re battling that as well. So, ah, and I’ve seen her in some...some dragout knockouts, and let me tell you, this is a cop that can take care of business [laughter]. But you’re always sensitive to that as well. So how are people going to react to that? So you just do what you think is right and you move...you move forward. And we’ve kind of blossomed in this thought process that we have about gender and racial minority recruitings. We have a cadre of young officers that understand the importance to recruit and to have a community that’s made up of those that you’re represent—that you’re serving. And we’re trying to do that in academies across the state today.

Emily:
Can you tell me a little bit about what the Department looks like today? I mean, are...how many women do you have?

Elizabeth:
We have six women now, in the Department. And they...they are all...We have one who serves as a detective. Most of our women or a good many of our women have had the opportunity to go on to other departments.

Emily:
Um-hum.

Elizabeth:
And we...we train extremely well. And other departments know that. And we recruit. We’re very careful in our recruiting and do very thorough and extensive backgrounds. And so if you do finally get on with us, and get through our training, you’re very marketable, and especially if you’re a minority or a woman. And there were some things we’ve done to...to change that and there are some things that John and I have worked on to create that atmosphere, that this is a place you can have a career. And some of it is opportunity, some of it is financial incentives, but we are expanding in both the minority hiring and in hiring a female and so. Yeah, but it’s...the look has changed considerably.

Emily:
Um-hum.

John:
Lisa could go to the police academy and actually sponsor herself. I couldn’t do that. I’d have a department sponsor me. There was this thing that happened in the...during the early ‘80s where the state organization called MCOLES back then, those who certified officers—those were the people that gave us our license to do what we do. At one time you had to be sponsored by a police department to go to a police academy, and in my opinion that’s the way it should be today. That’s not the way it is today, it’s not hard to become a certifiable police officer. It may be difficult to be certified or to be hired. But if you have $3,000 dollars and 14 weeks and you haven’t done anything...you haven’t robbed any banks or committed any felonies, you could go to the police academy. There are a lot of people that have been through the police academy that...that never will nor should be police officers today. And that’s unfortunate.

And I don’t know why that all occurred, but I do know that it had an effect on the law enforcement community, because in the late ‘80s, you can see certain things that were happening in regards to trust issues that involved police departments. The most significant one was the Rodney King beating out in LA. You could see that there were things that were occurring in American law enforcement that should never be occurring. That was just the start of it. But we...we battle this issue today, as far as trust issues go. And somebody can sit in front of – we used to talk about this – when people sit in front of us and say, “I don’t trust you anymore,” we got a problem. And that’s today’s cop. It’s not uncommon for somebody to sit in front of police office today and say “I don’t trust you.” That’s wrong, and we have to everything that we can do to change it. So the late ‘80s were...we’re making some changes in regards to the...to the trust issues and to profiling issues that we were dealing with. At the same time we’re trying to hire minority applicants. Lisa said we have six female officers, we’ve got a Black police officer. We’re getting ready to hire another Black police officer. We brought Richie Coleman in the early ‘90s to do some things from a community perspective for us. So things are moving forward, not as quick as some of us had hoped for, but they are moving forward and I think we’re making some progress.

Elizabeth:
And I think that that was one of the big things that with the change in the community, in the growth in the community. And remember in the ‘70s, we...we almost doubled in population. I mean, it was just this...or excuse me, into the...between the ‘70s and ‘80s and ‘90s. I mean, we’re talking about doubling ourselves. And the demands that are being placed on the police officers, and the technology that is starting to come into policing is...I mean, we’re having to utilize radio systems that are more technologically savvy. We’re having to look at computers. We’re having to look at computerized information about suspects. We’re not just dealing with mug shots and...and fingerprints on a piece of paper anymore. I mean, that’s how it’s...that’s how it started literally. You had a fingerprint card, and you had to physically roll those prints in ink on paper. And those were by hand compared. Now, it’s a digital reading piece of glass basically, that you roll the prints over and they’re digitized and sent electronically to West Virginia, to the FBI database, and you have a return in, oh, maybe an hour, if that. It used to take us twelve weeks to get a response.

Emily:
Oh [laughs].

Elizabeth:
And so those are just some of the things...Not only are we dealing with personnel issues...

John:
Today you carry them on you...carry your computers...

Elizabeth:
Yeah.

John:
...on your side.

Elizabeth:
Yeah.

Emily:
Um-hum.

Elizabeth:
We used to carry a stick, which was our baton, and a revolver, and a pair of handcuffs.

Emily:
Now you have your computer. Do you still have this...revolver, baton and handcuffs?

Elizabeth:
Well, no. We’re just moving to...we’re going to be having a semi-automatic, which is a different kind of pistol, but it is a hand...handgun. Then we’ll have tasers. And that’s an electronic device.

Emily:
To stun.

Elizabeth:
To stun. And we won’t have the batons anymore, which were metal batons that you struck people in places where there’s bundles of nerves in your body, and supposedly if you hit them in the right place that disables them. And we won’t have those anymore. And we won’t have...and, yes, they have virtually computers on their side now.

Emily:
Um-hum. What type of...Are you seeing the same types of crimes though? I mean, does crime ever change or is it all just the same old stuff with more people?

Elizabeth:
I think we have a lot more technologically based crime. We have a lot more identity theft, we have a lot more credit card fraud and that type of thing. But we have always had a high percentage of property crimes to violent crime. And that’s been consistent with national statistics for many years. And I remember in 1992 when we went into Scenic Lake and started the COPS program in there, we were having...one summer we had a shooting every week for five weeks in that apartment complex. And we went in and worked with McKinley Properties who had purchased the complex and they actually partnered with us and we had a full-time police officer in that complex for several years to get it to a point where the quality of life for those residents was appropriate and safe.

Emily:
Um-hum.

Elizabeth:
Yeah.

John:
We’ve always had significant property crime. But what I noticed in the late...in the mid-‘80s, and it was right around 1985, is that we started having a lot more personal crimes, personal attacks, aggravated assaults, up to and including homicides from time to time. That’s what I...And really, what kind of threw me...got me in that direction...there ain’t a specific event that caused it, but I told you earlier that we’re traffic officers and we made a lot of arrests...with a lot of drunk drivings and that type of thing. In June of 1986, we had a drunk driver that fled from us up on Washtenaw Avenue. We ended up at his home in South Lawn, which is in Ypsilanti Township. And the officers were just trying to make an arrest. That’s all they were trying to do is to make an arrest. This driver barricaded himself inside his home, got a shotgun and shot through the front door, hitting a deputy, spun that deputy around, and he’s disabled today. A good friend of mine. I...I...that’s really kind of when I started saying that there’s really no such things as a drunk driving arrest anymore...This...this man goes home and he shoots a deputy. We had the Bungalow murders in Inkster. That took us all by...you know, just grabbed our hearts. You know, three police officers on a 50-dollar bounced check, you have three cops murdered by Ira Parker...I’m sorry, Ira Parker was the sergeant on the scene, but by Alberta Easter and her three sons. Three police officers. We started seeing this proliferation of just violent, unconscionable crime that was taking place in the...in the late ‘80s. In the ‘90s continued. The ‘90s they continued to...I had made some notes on...in regards to some of the homicides that we had. We were trying to deal with racial profiling allegations at the same time, and trying to deal with violent crime and racial profiling things, that wasn’t a good mix, that wasn’t going together for us. Up to March 18th of ’97 when we had the Pepper Moving and Storage, that was an execution style killing out on Morgan Road in which Neil Green, he was 36 years old. Duane Holder and Dave Pepper were shot execution style after leaving their...after being marched out back of their...their moving and storage place. You know, and then so we started co-op...basically what that forced us to do was to get involved in some team concepts with experts in the field. We partnered with the Michigan State Police. We partnered with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department. We brought seasoned investigators together to start solving some of these crimes. And to this day, I think we were...we have been very...fairly successful at that, a lot of it resulting from the narcotics...the illegal distribution and sale of narcotics. But there are some major crimes that occurred that...that are absent of that particular element. We had a Cloverlane stabbing. We had the Crane Road stabbing in which five men came into a party uninvited in August of 1997 and a young 17-year-old was stabbed to death in the middle of this party. I believe that was over a comment made about a girl. These things are...these things seem to be more and more prevalent in the late ‘80s and into the ‘90s, and up to...through today. A lot more major crimes. And we’re dealing with those major crimes today.

Emily:
Um-hum.

John:
We’re doing everything we can to try to attack some of these major crimes by participating in multi-jurisdictional concept teams, helping with target gangs. And we were very successful in the ‘90s in targeting a gang that came out of West Willow. Working with the Feds, because some of these were not state charges, they were federal charges. And if you can get the...the U.S. attorney involved in some of these, these people will go away. They’ll be...they’ll be transferred to other states. But that’s coming back again too. Some of the gangs are coming back.

Emily:
Hm.

Elizabeth:
But some...some of that is from the growth in the population and the change from such a rural township to a more urban township and the mobility of these...there’s a lot of traffic that goes through Pittsfield Township, from major areas – Detroit, Jackson, you know, that whole corridor along 94 at...nationally, or regionally, and then just between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor and between Milan and Whitmore Lake.

Emily:
Um-hum.

John:
There’s a lot more kids too.

Elizabeth:
A lot...well, yes.

John:
A lot more kids.

Elizabeth:
[laughs]

John:
I mean, these aren’t...these are 30, 40-year-olds that are...that are pulling these crimes off. These are 16, 17, 15 year-olds. We just had one recently. A couple of high school kids, going home, skipped out of school, went home. One kid shot his friend point blank with a twelve-gauge shotgun and killed him.

Side 2:

John:
…seven kids out there on Elton Street, they were involved in an incident in which there were shots fired up there. A turf war breaks out on Green Meadows…what’s the road out there…Chester Drive…twenty-five kids involved in a turf war of shots being fired. These are kids that are committing these major crimes.

Doug:
Showcase Theatre was one of them.

John:
Showcase Theatre, it would not be uncommon to go to Showcase Theater, there would be shots fired, right at the movie theater. But I’m talking…I’m talking kids that are under the age of 17 committing major crime. And I think that speaks to something more than just Pittsfield Township. That’s not uncommon throughout the country, that you’re having more and more kids commit more and more serious major crimes, up to and including taking another…another life. And that’s…that’s sad. That doesn’t speak well for our…

Emily:
Well, you said that you remember rounding up the cows and…

Elizabeth:
Um-hum

Emily:
…the horses in the old…at times and so I guess things have changed…

Elizabeth:
We get calls of, you know, there’s... are cows blocking the street or there are horses out on a street and we’d have to go and…and find the owners and get them off the road. Then John had the piglet that was…

Emily:
John, tell your pig story and then we’re going to…

John:
I don’t know, my mom is a lover of pigs [laughter], so I don’t know if I can…I don’t know if I ever told my mom the piglet story [laughter]. I…I was going through the scrapbook and I found this, it said, “Wayward porker hitches a ride.” Um…what had happened was a nineteen year-old Saline female pulls into the station, and this is when we had moved from this building, you know, we started here. This was our police station. This covered area wasn’t here, you had the utilities building, you had township administration, and…and a police department had two or three offices back here in the foyer. We moved from here down to south...down to Michigan Avenue under John Santomauro and that was probably around ’84. Uh…when we first got down there, a lady pulls in and she says, “Somebody threw a pig in my car.” And I said, “What?” and we went out to the car and there’s this pig in her car! There’s a 30-pound piglet [laughter]. And uh…I thought she was pulling my leg, I thought she was joking with me. But a long story short, the piglet was stolen from a local pig farm here in Pittsfield Township, and we ended up chasing it around the station for a little bit but, uh…[laughter] That goes from…from pigs to a…to a…armed robberies, I guess Pittsfield Township had a little bit of it all. And, uh…we…we…I remember the days. I remember the McCalla farm, where they would start the dryers, uh… and it would rattle the windows at the new apartment complex that was just being built. These were the things we were dealing with in Pittsfield Township. Now Bill McCalla was a farmer forever. He’s been here for as long as I ever remember, but when he turned on his blowers at his farm, it would actually shake the windows and rattle the windows at some nearby apartment complexes. And how do you deal with those issues? These are the things that the township administration I think were struggling with along the years as well. And…and it…and it presented some unique changes in our agency, in the way that we respond. Because you weren’t just dealing with the same thing every day. You were dealing with a variety of…of issues and trying to work with the administration, and zoning, and enforcement people to…to, ah...you know, rural meets urban. Many times when…when they do meet, there is a line somewhere down there that…that usually the police…police department’s involved with.

Emily:
So the public relations duties had to be…had to expand as…and to make sure that you got the story, heard the story from all sides and those kinds of things that aren’t just safety issues but are actually quality of life issues for everybody at the time.

John:
And I think the administration looked at those quality of life issues because it’s easy to do staff studies and it’s easy to do reports. The FBI bases the number of officers on population throughout the country. Uh…you know the…the township wanted more than that, you know, what kind of issues are we facing? What do we need? Mr. Wall and I were talking earlier. You know…we need a Neighborhood Watch program. We recognized that early on and in the ‘80’s, and in his [Mr. Wall’s] backyard for the very first time (we) put together our very first Neighborhood Watch, knowing that we’re not in this without you – we’re partners in this. I mean, I’m your...you’re, in essence, you pay my salary, you are my boss. What it is that you need in your community is to try to address some of these issues and we started some very early initiatives with what we call Neighborhood Watch. That’s blossomed. It’s called different things. We try to even do more with that, and Pittsfield Township committed itself in the ‘90s to say that’s a full-time position for us. That is a full-time position. We need to have somebody on the department, doesn’t have to be a sworn officer, to put together these neighborhood watch programs and then comes a man by the name of Richie Coleman, who has been instrumental in putting together Neighborhood Watch programs. That’s never went away. We will lose other things before we lose that, because that is our...basically our voice and our eyes and ears. From police and fire operations to the communities that we serve.

Emily:
Do you have questions?

Doug:
I had a couple things. I had, when in office. I had three things: gangs ____ talk about. But I might add that the Showcase Cinema, you would say, considered a...well, it’s considered to be the place where Ypsilanti gangs could meet with the other Ann Arbor gangs and could fight, not on their turf, but turf. The other was a matter of trucks and so on, on Michigan Avenue. We instituted a weight limit. The other thing, John had talked about crime and so on. And one of them, my main concern at the time was that…is the problems of the domestic violence. You know, something very hard to control, it would be something _______ problem _____. Another thing I’d like to mention about the support of the boards. Just to show the amount of support that this community puts into public safety, which includes the Fire Department. In the budget, every cent that comes in on the people’s the property taxes, goes to support the Department of Public Safety, fire and police, as well as the Public Safety Millage. In fact, when I left, we were adding 90,000 dollars more into that, more than what the revenue from taxes was. And so if it wasn’t for state revenues and some other things we would in fiscal problems. That’s how much this community supports Public Safety Department.

John:
We tell that to people that we’re involved with the NA. They can’t believe that. They can’t even begin to comprehend that. We’re...we know that we’re fortunate as a member of the agency to have that kind of support here with us. But we tell that to other law enforcement, other chiefs of police that we have...that we regularly come into contact with, and they just can’t...they even can’t comprehend the numbers. And I’ve got the actual numbers in regards to some of those budget...budgetary. And I can do 1990...1988, Doug if you want me to. In 1988, the township board, we had...we did have a millage at that time as well, a special millage. So I’m going to take the police, fire and the public safety millage, and I’m going to tell you it was 1.4 million dollars in 1988. Today it’s at 6.5 million. About a 340 percent increase from 1988. That is the kind of financial support, the commitment that boards have made. And that’s a big reason why I stayed with this agency, because I know I had bosses that understood the issue, understood that we...we have got to be able to...It’s not cheap to run a police and fire agency. It’s not cheap. Lisa and I are as frugal as we can possible be with it, but we know that it’s not cheap to...to run that. That is the...that’s...those are real numbers. ’88, 1.4 million, today we’re in charge of a six-and-a-half million dollar budget and we take every penny of that seriously.

Elizabeth:
And I think we also learned early on that you could not be insular and you had to be in partnership with your communities and have active community watch programs and active listening forums and ability for people to be heard at their police station. And we...we really were ahead of the national model when they were talking about the COPS program and this and that. I think that the leaders in the police department at that time were way ahead of that curve and knew that they had to go out and hear what do you want, what do you need, as a community for us to do? What role should we play in your community to create the quality of life you want? And I think that’s a tribute to the...the people who were in, not only in the administration but in the police leadership at that time.

Emily:
You had a...?

A:
_________________.

Elizabeth:
We...we were fortunate to be able to have the first DARE program in Washtenaw County run by a local police department. And we actually...that was a Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and it was targeted at fifth or sixth graders, whatever that year was before middle school. And a police officer would go in and spend 17 weeks, one day a week, with the kids, and teach a curriculum about how to resist the pressures that were going to put on them in middle school about drugs. We piloted that at Carpenter Elementary, and it was then picked up through the entire Ann Arbor school system. And today we still have the DARE program, and we’ve expanded it to the Christian Academy at Moon and Michigan, the Multicultural Academy on Platt and we still of course have the program at Carpenter School. And it’s the only Ann Arbor public school that has the DARE program, and it’s the one that’s in Pittsfield Township.

Emily:
Carpenter is your alma mater, isn’t it?

Elizabeth:
Yes, it is.

Emily:
I just want to get a little Pittsfield Township [laughter]...connection.

Elizabeth:
Um, and when I walked in the first year I taught DARE, which was 1989. I walked into Carpenter Elementary School, and Nancy Lohr – you remember?

Emily:
Is still there? [laughs]

Elizabeth:
...was still there.

Emily:
Wow!

Elizabeth:
She was my gym teacher in sixth grade and she was still there when I came back to teach there.

Emily:
Well, good.

Elizabeth:
And knew my name. And so...

Ed Wall:
You talked primarily about the police side of the house.

John:
Yes, sir.

Ed Wall:
But with a development of the Department of Public Safety was a merger of two...two different cultures that are...that sometimes don’t mesh that well. I was wondering to what degree you can be candid about this, the process of blending and developing a department of public safety and how it has evolved over the years. And whatever...what your assessment would be today of how it’s working?

John:
I’ll be as candid as I can possibly be. Again, the combination was made under...under Supervisor Morris in regards to taking two agencies, putting them under one, the authority of one Director of Public Safety and then moving them to a Michigan Avenue location. That occurred in...in ’84...?

Elizabeth:
’85.

John:
…’85. Well, we actually were in, in the station down there. And I was a sergeant at the time yet, so I...I kind of dealt with that from a different perspective. I’ve always gotten along great, the fire guys, fire department, we understood we had two missions. We knew that there was no good...There was not going to be any move towards full consolidation where cops were doing fire-fighting work and fire-fighters were going to have to go to a police academy and become police officers. So the mission was clear right from the onset, and I believe that that’s worked out well. The problem that we had over the years is the department was growing. The fire department had to grow. And we basically, through – and the Department’s 50...the fire department’s 50 years old right now – relied on paid on-calls, or what we called volunteers at one time. These were people that were at home and they would come and fight fire. That changed dramatically in the ‘80s and in the ‘90s. You don’t have that commitment anymore. You don’t have the people that...that are going to come back to the department on call or in the middle of the night and work. So we ended up with a paid on-call system, or we tried to encourage that. But we knew that the paid on call staff had to increase as well. I think the problem that John Santomauro may have had and Ray LeCornu had was that there was a union issues involved with the person that was running the fire department at the time. And the highest ranking fire fighter that we had was called the Fire Marshal. And we knew that we had to do something with that. And in 2003, the township board took it upon themselves to deal with that. To try to take the Fire Marshal and bring him outside the unit. That didn’t work. So what we did is we went to the Deputy Director concept. And that was in 1993, in which the township board allowed me to do six things, and that was, make a significant increase in the full-time complement of fire fighters. And we hired six in 2003. We took the Fire Marshal and moved it to a lower pay classification and then hired a Deputy Director of Fire Services outside the bargaining unit. For those...it’s difficult to be a union brother and to discipline union members. And we knew that we would have to take the administration out of that. The administration doesn’t need to be unionized. So we did that in 2003. Lisa, who held the title of Captain at the time, was moved to Deputy Director of Police Services. And we ended up with a Fire Commander, which is our training officer. And that...that’s still in the process of kind of shuffling itself out. We are still in the process of filling that Fire Marshal role. But again, there...if you look at police and fire in Pittsfield Township, there was significant growth, even more growth in the fire department it seems like than in the police department throughout those years, especially in the 2000’s because we built two other stations. We had this station that went up next-door. We had the station on Ellsworth Road. We had to put bodies in them stations. We had to put apparatus in them stations, and that was a significant capital investment that the township board made to us. So today...and then we had some OSHA rules you had to apply. Before you can start fighting a fire, you have to have four fire-fighters on the scene. You have to have what’s called the two...it’s dubbed the two-in and two-out rule, where you have to have two fire-fighters on the inside, two fire-fighters on the outside. They have to be direct voice communications and...and the Occupational Health and Safety people have put these rules on us that we have to apply. So I thought, well, let’s get six full-time fire-fighters on duty, in a perfect world 24/7, and that’s what we have today – six full-time...they’re in three stations, but we have two at each station that’s manned 24 hours a day and it’s allowed us to do some more training opportunities as well.

Ed:
Looking back, are there synergies, are there benefits that come from a consolidated public safety department?

John:
I believe so. I believe so. I know that there’s different opinions on that, but I believe that there’s a significant cost saving in regards to having a Director of Public Safety go to an elected body and ask for things that we can use together, rather than fighting for the same thing. And 800 megahertz which we’re dealing with today is a prime example. 800 megahertz is a communication system. And we can share that. We ought to be sharing that. Police, fire, and EMS ought to be sharing that. We shouldn’t be battling for our own radio systems because the fire department likes this radio system and the cops like this. We’ve done years of that and it doesn’t work, because we can’t talk to each other. So today we’re at a crossroads by saying we need to have a radio system that works for everybody. I believe the cost savings is one of an economy of scale. You could...you could buy a thermal imager for the fire department so fire fighters can actually see through smoke and watch bodies laying on the floor. You don’t need to buy that for the cops, but the cops can use that during searching for lost kids in the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night, and take that thermal imager that’s in a unit somewhere in your township and take that out and use it, rather than buying two of them. But if you had separate agencies what you’ll end up with two of everything. And you don’t need two of everything.

Elizabeth:
And if you...

John:
You need a cop and a fire-fighter, you need to be able to work together.

Elizabeth:
And...

John:
And we were successful.

Elizabeth:
Especially with the Homeland Security, your big push towards Incident Command and all of these things were...which were based on fire protocols and...and how the fire department operated. We already knew those. We’ve been working with our fire department for many years. We knew Incident Command. We knew how you do these things. We have teams put together on arson, for instance, where we have a fire-fighter and a police officer on arson teams together. And those just, they just enhance what service we can provide, and so that working together. Yeah, there are some problems. There are some...they are two different cultures. But I think that most of the police officers and the fire-fighters that we have working with us now in Pittsfield Township appreciate and know their partners on the other side.

Doug:
You haven’t mentioned the canine operation.

Elizabeth:
Hank Fusik…

John:
Yeah, we...we’ve done a...we’ve done a few things. We ended up, the canine is a...is a good example. Doug, you already mentioned the Weigh Master. But we put together a number of years ago...there was a need, and we had an officer that did the report, did the study. And we got this...this dog on. It’s a ca—it’s a German Shepherd. But it’s a...it’s a multi-task dog. I was learning a lot about dogs myself along the way. And before I went to Mr. Woolley to ask him if we would even consider such a thing. I said I better have my stuff together when I go and ask him so...

Elizabeth:
[laughs]

John:
We ended up trying to get...trying to learn a lot about the canine concept. Because it’s...it’s not only a search dog and drug dog, but there’s different kinds of dogs out there. We got a good one. I mean, I...I think we have the finest dog, and the finest canine handler in the state of Michigan. And I’m not shy about telling that to people. We have got a canine handler today that’s second to none in this entire state, and is looked at as a leader through a canine academy that had to deal within the...in Wayne County. But that’s...that’s just another example of the commitment that we have in Pittsfield Township. Did we have a dog before then? Could we get a dog? Yes, we could. We’d have to call the state police and we called the county and most...most of the time, they wouldn’t...they couldn’t come or it was going to be a significant delay. And the dog that we have today has got success story after success story of chasing the bad guys into closets and all of that.

Doug:
Doesn’t he also locate lost kids?

John:
Yes. Yes. Alzheimer’s patients, children, occupant or office safety issues. It is...it’s just a great tool for the police department to have.

Emily:
What’s the dog’s name?

John:
Recon.

Emily:
Recon [laughter].

John:
Now Recon is in the process of retiring.

Emily:
Oh, no!

John:
He’s not fully retired yet, but moving out. Several years ago there was a bank robbery at the corner of Carpenter and Ellsworth and a TCF Bank was robbed. And they chased the bank robber to Ypsi Township, and he jumped a fence. Recon, without hesitation, went over this fence and it wasn’t a small fence, it was a large one. But when he came down, he threw his back out. And he’s really never recovered from that injury, but he’s in the process of...of serving the end of his career. He’s been with us six or...six years.

Elizabeth:
Six years.

John:
Six years.

Elizabeth:
Yes, he’ll be retired.

John:
He’ll be retired. And we’ll replace with another...we’ll replace that with another...

Emily:
Well, let us know when the retirement party is.

John:
Okay.

Emily:
…to make sure it’s well attended. Are there any other final questions? Or is there anything you’d like to wrap up?

John:
Okay.

Emily:
See, I have a dog I’m looking to...[laughter]

John:
laughs] Well, my mom’s got a boxer called...she calls it Chief [laughs].

Betty:
Well, I’d like to thank both of you for coming today. And when Margaret Lillie found out you were going to be here she said “I have to bring cookies,” so I invite everyone to enjoy the refreshments.

Elizabeth:
Thank you.

John:
Well, I just want to say to Margaret, that there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Mr. Lillie. I mean, um, I lost my dad in ’96, and I think of him often, and...and I just think of the vision that this man had in bringing this Department together, and I just want to say that...I get nostalgic when I’m in this building, I got to tell you, because I’ve worked out of this building for many, many years, and I watched this addition being added, and I watched our treasurer and our clerk work off of doors that fell off the hinges back there, made a desk. And I think of the buckets, that...and I can still see the water coming through. But people with the water buckets in here. And all of the times that they did without so we could have what we needed to serve this community. And I just got some heartfelt deep feelings about that, and I thank him an I thank Mr. Wall, and I thank Mr. Woolley, and all of those bosses that I’ve had along the way for a job well down. You’re to be congratulated, and thank you.

Doug:
I used to tell everybody that I had the only cold water running office in the state of Michigan. Every time it rained, I’d have water [laughter].

John:
I remember that back office there, the door fell off, and they used it for a desk for a while [laughter].

Betty:
That’s in the archives now.

John:
That’s the archives, right.

Emily:
Let’s hope no water comes in it. Well, thank you very much and there are some...they brought some newspaper articles to share here too.

[applause]

John:
Thank you.

The End

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