Retired Fraser Public Safety Officer Lisa Pettyes holds a baby she helped deliver in 2016.

Retired Fraser Public Safety Officer Lisa Pettyes holds a baby she helped deliver in 2016.

Photo provided by Lisa Pettyes

Longtime Fraser Public Safety officer retires

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 27, 2020


FRASER — After more than 26 years as a member of the Fraser Department of Public Safety, Lisa Pettyes said she is walking away, humbled, with her head held high.

On July 22, a day after she announced her retirement in a social media message to the community, she said that the decision to transition to the next chapter in her life was emotionally difficult.

Pettyes looked back at the relationships she has cultivated in the community, notably students, faculty and administrators that are part of Fraser Public Schools — where she spent over 12 years off and on as a school liaison.

She used her own experiences to talk to kids and share her own personal trauma.

“Unfortunately, so many kids come from dysfunction and have so many stories we don’t even imagine,” she said.

“Fraser has been my family,” she continued. “I started when I was 23 years old, I was just a kid and didn’t know my way in life. I came from a pretty dysfunctional family. I had a place to ground me, and a place to let me grow and prosper as an individual. Working with the residents and community and kids, it’s just been a blessing for me and my family.”

Her original plan to retire actually crossed her mind at this time last year, and she has dealt with the mental anguish of letting go of a job so near and dear to her. She is now exiting a department in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and in a time where protesting is ubiquitous and relations between citizens and police officers are being put under a microscope.

Pettyes said she felt guilt abandoning her “brothers and sisters in blue” but also acknowledges that the current moment presents her own life — and the lives of others — with newfound opportunities.

Moving forward she will use her passion working with children and the community by way of her business, Thrive. It will include various aspects of teaching, including CPR, administering Narcan, using EpiPens, first-aid training and restorative justice.

“(Restorative justice) is kind of an emerging social science based on community building and allowing people to be accepted for who they are,” said Pettyes, whose husband, Mike, is the current interim director of Fraser DPS. “It gives people an opportunity to understand social justice challenges and that everyone has their own challenges, and how do we allow them to come into the classroom and their own environment and not be judged?”

She will also work with sixth graders at FPS in a capacity similar to old D.A.R.E. programs, to conduct small prevention classes and do unilateral training in areas like bullying, cyber bullying, digital citizenship, drug awareness and standing up to peer pressure.

Her recollections from over 26 years on the job included many “great” moments and “some sad ones,” too. She established relationships with kids who eventually died from diseases, or citizens who perished in car accidents. She delivered two babies while on duty, the first in 2009 and another in 2016

“Those memories will always impact me,” she said.

Her legacy will involve being one of the founders of Families Against Narcotics, she said, after community teens were dying from drug overdoses days apart. She worked with former DPS Director George Rouhib and others to get FAN off the ground, and she stayed for about two years before heading back on road patrol.

After all these years, she said someone comes up to her at least once per week and thanks her for her service. It’s a job that is not only about meeting people, but also getting to know them—sometimes for life.

“Every day I really feel like I had an opportunity to make Fraser a better place,” she said.