Center Line names new public safety lieutenant

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published April 5, 2019

 Steven Hilla

Steven Hilla

CENTER LINE — The Center Line Public Safety Department now has a new second in command.

That officer is Executive Lt. Steven Hilla, who brings 23 years of law enforcement experience to his new role leading the department’s police road patrol and detective bureau. Hilla has served 18 years with the city of Center Line and previously held the rank of sergeant, was a shift field commander and the leader of the department’s field training program. Prior to that, he spent five years with the Highland Park Public Safety Department, where he originally hired in as a firefighter.

“He brings a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge. He’s a true leader in every sense of the word,” Center Line Public Safety Director Paul Myszenski said. “He headed up our field training officer program, started a lot of good initiatives in the department. Steve’s just done an outstanding job. All of this was beneficial to us.”

Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine said Hilla has had an “excellent” career with the city of Center Line.

“He has a great reputation amongst the rank and file,”  Champine said. “He was a good choice, not to say that the other individual who was competing for the position wasn’t a good choice. The director or I would have chosen either one of these two applicants, for sure.”

Hilla will take over for Lt. Thomas Costello, who just retired.

He said he has enjoyed mentoring younger officers and helping them to develop professionally by taking a more “humanistic approach” to the job of law enforcement. That’s something he said he’s learned over the years through his own professional development.

“I started as a firefighter first. That was my choice,” Hilla said.

As a police officer later, he liked working in a variety of capacities, including blight, narcotics and traffic enforcement.

“I liked that wide range, and I just honed my skills through the years, just like most officers do, trying to get better at their craft,” Hilla said. “As I started to grow from a technical aspect, I started going into more of the human behavior side of things.

“I would say the first thing, I just liked the excitement of the job. Now, I like to mentor and just be there for the officers and help them along the way, because that’s what made me become who I am today. It’s not just me doing things. It was a lot of others. That poured into me. That’s what I try to do with these guys,” Hilla said.

The Center Line Public Safety Department currently has 20 sworn officers and a total of 75 police and fire personnel, including reserves and paid on-call firefighters. There are five vacant public safety officer positions.