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Grosse Pointe Shores

Shores salutes retiree, recently promoted public safety officers

January 31, 2013

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From left, Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte honors recently retired Lt. James Demeulenaere, center, and Mayor Ted Kedzierski presents Demeulenaere with a proclamation in his honor during a ceremony Jan. 15 at City Hall.

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — It was a bittersweet moment for the city’s Public Safety Department, as they marked the retirement of a longtime member and the promotion of several other officers during a ceremony at the Jan. 15 City Council meeting.

Lt. James Demeulenaere, who retired at the end of December, received a proclamation from Mayor Ted Kedzierski to honor him for his more than 27 years of service to the Shores. Demeulenaere — who spent a year and a half with the Toledo Police Department before coming to the Shores in May 1985 — had been the senior department shift commander for the past 13 years. He was promoted to sergeant in 1996 and became a lieutenant in 1999, Public Safety Director John Schulte said.

“I first worked with Jim starting in 1988, when we were both assigned to the Grosse Pointe/Harper Woods Special Response Team,” Schulte said. “(Those were) some of the best days of my career, and I know his, too.”

The director said Demeulenaere’s personnel file “is full of training accomplishments, citizen thank-you letters and departmental recognitions.”

Fellow officers were sorry to see Demeulenaere go, and many gathered to pay tribute to his long career during an informal retirement gathering they held for him last month.

Demeulenaere — accompanied by his wife, Pam, who has worked for the Department of the Army for the last 28 years — said he hopes to find a part-time job, because he’s not ready to fully retire yet. He’d like to stay in a public safety-related field.

The Macomb Community College graduate is looking forward to spending a little more time hunting and fishing, two of his favorite pastimes.

“We’re going fishing tonight, Ron and I,” Demeulenaere said of  Grosse Pointe Shores public safety officer Ron Coste, another avid angler.

Coste was among those promoted, becoming a sergeant. A member of the department since 2000, Schulte said Coste is an evidence technician and class III Breathalyzer operator.

“My first week on the job here, I responded during the night to assist the shift as they responded to a mutual-aid fire in Grosse Pointe Woods,” Schulte said. “I got a firsthand look at Ron and his shift help extinguish the fire, and I was totally impressed with the skills of the officers in this department.”

Detective Sgt. Scott Rohr is now a lieutenant. Schulte said Rohr joined the Shores in 1996, after serving as a paramedic for Taylor Ambulance, where he was assigned as a paramedic to Grosse Pointe Park in the early 1990s. He has a bachelor’s degree from Siena Heights University. Schulte said Rohr, who was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2003, has been the EMS instructor coordinator for the city since 2004, and was named the officer in charge of the detective bureau in 2009. More recently, he’s become the Shores’ Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System administrator.

“To say Scott’s a value to the Public Safety Department is a tremendous understatement,” said Schulte, praising Rohr’s “preparation, ability and drive.”

“Scott has worked very hard as I transitioned into the chief position, and for that I am very grateful,” the director continued.

Sgt. Kenneth Werenski, who joined the department in 1992 and became a sergeant in 1996, was also promoted to lieutenant. A graduate of Madonna College, Schulte said Werenski is in charge of the department’s in-car video program.

“He is yet another example of an officer totally dedicated to the service of this community, this department and the development of his subordinate officers,” Schulte said.

Werenski — who had asked Schulte to recognize his parents, Ken and Jackie, for their “love and support” — also wanted to acknowledge another relative: his uncle, former Shores Public Safety Director Gary Mitchell. Mitchell didn’t hire Werenski, who was actually brought on board by then-Shores Public Safety Director Daniel Healy, but he did mentor the young officer. Fittingly, it was Mitchell who was asked to pin on Werenski’s gold shield.

While presenting the shield to his nephew, Mitchell said it had previously been worn by him and another retired Shores veteran, Lt. Charles Wenrich.

“It’s probably got about 50 years (of wear) on it,” he said as he prepared to affix the shield to Werenski’s uniform.

With a cousin who’s a member of the Detroit Police Department and another cousin who’s married to the Harper Woods police chief, Mitchell said Werenski “is in the family business.”

Spouses and family members were among those on hand to congratulate the officers and to celebrate their accomplishments. City officials also acknowledged the contributions made by the longtime Public Safety Department members.

“To lose a 27-year employee — that’s a loss for the city,” Kedzierski said of Demeulenaere’s retirement. “But it’s healthy for the Public Safety Department to see three promotions.”

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