Eastpointe honors its first responders of the year

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 4, 2020

 Officer Randan Burkall is the 2020 Eastpointe Police Officer of the Year.

Officer Randan Burkall is the 2020 Eastpointe Police Officer of the Year.

Photo provided by the Eastpointe Department of Public Safety

 Firefighter James Heinzman is the 2020 Eastpointe Firefighter of the Year.

Firefighter James Heinzman is the 2020 Eastpointe Firefighter of the Year.

Photo provided by the Eastpointe Department of Public Safety


EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe Department of Public Safety announced its Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year for 2020 on Nov. 12.

Each year the department honors the best and brightest among its ranks in order to highlight their achievements and their dedication to both duty and serving their community.


Officer of the Year
The 2020 Officer of the Year is Officer Randan Burkall.

“I would like to congratulate Officer Randan Burkall for being named as the 2020 Eastpointe Police Officer of the Year,” Department of Public Safety Director George Rouhib said in an email. “Randan has played an (integral) role in mentoring our new officers, working on improving the motorcycle unit, and maintaining all of our department weapons. He just recently arrested a homicide suspect and saved a citizen’s life. Thanks for your service Randan.”

Burkall said he is honored to have received this recognition.

“It feels excellent that my department and community recognize not only my service, but also the service of the many dedicated officers here in Eastpointe. I am very proud that I was selected from such a dedicated group of officers for the award,” he said. “I would like the people of Eastpointe to know that officers of the Eastpointe Police Department are here to serve them with high dedication, professionalism and respect.”

Burkall has been with the Eastpointe Police Department since 2015. He is currently assigned to the patrol division, responding to calls for service, enforcing traffic laws, investigating accidents and deterring crime. Additionally, he also is a member of the Motor Unit, which provides traffic enforcement at public events, and the Special Response Team, which serves high-risk warrants and apprehends violent felons. He is also a use-of-force and firearms instructor for the department.

Burkall said that he tries to be good at what he does by adhering to the most fundamental principles of being a good police officer.

“I feel the best qualities that make for a good police officer are dedication and integrity,” he remarked. “Let’s be honest, no one gets into law enforcement to get rich. People that enter this career want to serve their local community.”


Firefighter of the Year
The 2020 Firefighter of the Year is James Heinzman.

“I would like to congratulate Firefighter James Heinzman for being named as the 2020 Eastpointe Firefighter of the Year,” Rouhib wrote. “James has an outstanding work ethic that reflects his character. He has been instrumental in being part of the ladder truck committee and selecting the proper protective turnout gear for his fellow firefighters. He is always willing to volunteer his time to make the Fire Department more proactive. Thanks James for always being a professional.”

“Firefighter/Paramedic James Heinzman joined our department in November of 2017,” Deputy Fire Chief Nick Sage added in an email. “He had spent time with several other departments in both Michigan and South Carolina before coming to Eastpointe and was able to bring some experience to our department. James displays a strong work ethic and frequently works overtime to ensure minimum staffing levels are met. … James has, in a short time, established himself as a valuable member of the department who provides a role model attitude to others.”

Sage said Heinzman performs a number of duties within the Fire Department.

“Over the past year, James has stepped forward and participated in a couple of key committees that helped research and product test important firefighting equipment,” Sage said. “In February of 2020, James participated in the gear committee and conducted essential research and product testing of several different kinds of structural fire gear, ultimately assisting with the selection process in gear purchase. He worked effectively and efficiently with several other firefighters to effect this purchase, which was completed earlier this year.”

Heinzman said he was very honored by the decision to name him Firefighter of the Year but gave just as much credit to his fellow department members.

“While it is always nice to be recognized as an individual, our job (requires) a tremendous amount of teamwork,” he said. “I have to credit all of the firefighters in our department for working together to provide such a valuable service to our community.”

He went on to say that firefighters need to have some important qualities to be effective, whether it’s rushing into a burning building, teaching people about fire safety or waiting for a call to come in.

“There are a lot of variations of character that make up a someone who’s good at this job, but at the core I think it boils down to integrity, hard work and heart — heart being the most important since it has to be in your nature to be willing to give more than you’re ever going to get in return at every corner,” Heinzman said.

Both recipients expressed their gratitude both to the community and their fellow department members.

“The message is very simple: thank you,” said Heinzman. “Fire departments are a big team and it takes every member to make it work. Thank you to the community for the recognition, thank you to all of my co-workers involved for the recognition.”