Grosse Pointe Shores welcomes three new officers

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 25, 2013

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Motorists have three new reasons to abide by the rules of the road when driving through the Shores.

The city has hired three new public safety officers. The officers — Jason Cook, Jesse Lafriniere and Michael O’Brien — were formally introduced to the community by Public Safety Director John Schulte and sworn in during a Dec. 17 City Council meeting.

Schulte said Cook, a Clinton Township native, received his EMT certification from Macomb Community College. After studying at Baker College, he was certified as a paramedic in 2006, Schulte said. The new officer said Cook worked for Medstar Ambulance for 10 years and served as operations supervisor. He was a paramedic for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, the director said, and graduated from the Oakland Fire Academy in May 2004, finishing fifth in his class at the Macomb Police Academy on Dec. 11, 2013, Schulte said.

Lafriniere, who also just graduated “in the top of his class” at the Macomb Police Academy, likewise worked for Medstar Ambulance, Schulte said. The Warren native received his EMT certification from Macomb Community College, which is where he studied to be a firefighter and paramedic. He’s been a paramedic and firefighter for Utica for eight years, Schulte told the council.

“They unanimously told me we had sent through two very qualified applicants,” Schulte said of conversations he had with the Macomb Police Academy director and some instructors he’s known for years.

O’Brien, who grew up in Durand, Mich., also came to the Shores “highly trained” and with all of the certifications the Shores requires, Schulte said. O’Brien became a basic EMT and worked on a private ambulance in 2009, Schulte said. He earned his paramedic degree from Genesys Medical Center in 2011, the same year he finished tests for the national registry. He then graduated as a certified firefighter II from Lansing Community College in 2012. In October 2012, Schulte said O’Brien was accepted into the Michigan State Police’s 124th Trooper Recruit School, from which he graduated in March 2013.

“Michael told me at his interview that, while he received excellent training in the MSP training program, he felt somewhat limited, as he would only be performing one service: police,” Schulte said. “He indicated that he wanted to utilize all of his skills,” which is why he wanted to become a public safety officer.

O’Brien’s father, Dennis O’Brien, said his son is “looking forward” to his new career in the Shores.

“This has been something he’s wanted to do since he was 5 or 6,” said Dennis O’Brien, one of several family members on hand to see the officers sworn in. Some department supervisors were on hand, as well, with Lt. William Nicholson and Detective Lt. Scott Rohr there to congratulate the new hires.

“I’m excited to be on the road again,” Michael O’Brien said.

Cook said he, too, was “excited and ready to start.”

And after handling fire and emergency medical duties, Lafriniere said he was “excited to finally” have a chance to do police work, as well.

Mayor Ted Kedzierski, who also swore in and welcomed the officers during the meeting, said after the meeting that the résumés of the three newcomers “speak volumes” about them.

“It sounds like they’re very highly qualified,” he said.

Schulte thanked city officials for allowing him to hire the new officers. He said “by having a good complement of officers who are well-trained,” the department can provide good service to residents. Schulte said they hope to hire a fourth officer in the coming months to get the department back to the staffing level of previous years.

City Council member Bruce Bisballe, who chairs the Finance Committee, said the addition of the new officers reduces strain on the current staff. There is another benefit.

“With the addition of the new public safety officers, we think our overtime (costs) are going to be reduced significantly,” Bisballe said.

At press time, Schulte said Cook and Lafriniere had already started training in the field, and Michael O’Brien was slated to begin working for the Shores Dec. 20.