Shores lieutenant retires after 30 years

New officer from neighboring Harper Woods sworn in

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 30, 2012

 Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte, right, hugs the recently retired Lt. David Younk, who was recognized for his 30 years of service during an Aug. 21 City Council meeting.

Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte, right, hugs the recently retired Lt. David Younk, who was recognized for his 30 years of service during an Aug. 21 City Council meeting.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The city said goodbye to a veteran Public Safety Department supervisor while welcoming a new member during an Aug. 21 City Council meeting.

Lt. David Younk was recognized for his recent retirement, and Justin Reeves was sworn in by Mayor Ted Kedzierski as a new public safety officer.

Public Safety Director John Schulte — who presented Younk with his retirement shield — said they were bidding a “sad farewell” to a man who has served a vital role with the department, including acting as the principal firearms instructor and department range master. Schulte said Younk brought the city’s pistol range up to current standards, making it safer for anyone using it, and he developed a tracking system for officer training.

“When a person like (Younk) retires, the department loses a tremendous amount of experience,” Schulte said.

Younk officially retired July 3 after a 30-year career that started when he was hired as a dispatcher in 1982. He was sworn in as a public safety officer in 1986 and ascended to the rank of sergeant in 1995. Five months after that promotion, in June 1995, Younk became a lieutenant.

Younk said he’s now dividing his time between coaching freshman high school football in Richmond and teaching at Macomb Community College’s Police Academy, where he’s been an instructor for the last 21 years. Since retiring, the subject control coordinator for the basic police academy said he’s picked up more hours teaching and on the firing range.

He has been married for 21 years to Deanne, a catastrophic claims representative for an insurance company. They have two sons, ages 14 and 18, the older of whom will be playing football at Michigan Technological University in Houghton this fall. Younk said he’s looking forward to “chasing the kids and watching them play football and wrestle.” Both boys are athletes like their dad.

He said he enjoyed his years in the Shores.

“It’s been a phenomenal career,” Younk said. “The community and the department itself has been one big, happy family. And I miss the guys (I worked with) big time.”

Starting in 1989, he spent 10 years on the Special Response Team of the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods — their equivalent of a special weapons and tactics, or SWAT, team. That was where Schulte — a former member of the SRT for the Grosse Pointe Park Public Safety Department — first worked with Younk. Younk was also the department’s diver, and he remembers “hooking up a few cars” that ended up in Lake St. Clair — including a couple of vehicles that plunged through the ice.

“I’ve fulfilled all my dreams here,” he said.

Kedzierski congratulated Younk on his long career.

Schulte said Reeves is a state-licensed paramedic and graduate of the Macomb Police Academy who served as a paramedic and firefighter in Harper Woods from August 2006 to November 2009, and became a Harper Woods police officer after completing the police academy. He’s also a former paramedic for Tri-Hospital EMS, working on an advanced life support ambulance, and was a part-time firefighter and paramedic for the Marysville Fire Department from 2002-2006.

Schulte said Younk recognized the skills of his promising student and brought Reeves to the attention of Shores Public Safety Department leaders.

Reeves has put his lifesaving skills to good use even off the clock. Schulte said after Reeves completed a night shift Aug. 18, he saw a “reckless driver” crash into the back of a semi-trailer on I-94, causing a serious injury accident. Not waiting for emergency personnel, Reeves leapt into action, treating the “injured and uncooperative driver” and bringing a resulting vehicle fire under control using a fire extinguisher he retrieved from the truck.

“Justin rendered police, fire and EMS assistance to the driver, and we are very proud of his actions,” Schulte said.

Younk’s wife and Reeves’ family were on hand for the acknowledgements. Reeves and his wife of 11 years, elementary school teacher Christina, have three young sons.