New Grosse Pointe Shores public safety director sworn in

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 27, 2021

 Ken Werenski smiles at the swearing in of Grosse Pointe City's new public safety director, John Alcorn, Jan. 25 in Grosse Pointe City. Two days later, Grosse Pointe Shores swore in Werenski as its public safety director.

Ken Werenski smiles at the swearing in of Grosse Pointe City's new public safety director, John Alcorn, Jan. 25 in Grosse Pointe City. Two days later, Grosse Pointe Shores swore in Werenski as its public safety director.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

 Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Director Ken Werenski, at the time a lieutenant, shows the Way family, of St. Clair Shores — parents Katherine and Michael, and children William, 7, and Lily, 4 — what a fireman wears when fighting fires during the Shores’ fire safety open house Oct. 11, 2020.

Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Director Ken Werenski, at the time a lieutenant, shows the Way family, of St. Clair Shores — parents Katherine and Michael, and children William, 7, and Lily, 4 — what a fireman wears when fighting fires during the Shores’ fire safety open house Oct. 11, 2020.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — It’s official — Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Lt. Ken Werenski is now Public Safety Director Ken Werenski.

Werenski was sworn into office by Mayor Ted Kedzierski in a ceremony the morning of Jan. 27 at Shores City Hall that was attended by friends, family members, city officials and the public safety directors of all five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods. It was also shared via Zoom.

“This is a big day here,” said new City Manager Stephen Poloni, who retired as the Shores Public Safety Department director in 2011. “We’re excited for the chief.”

After Kedzierski administered the oath, Werenski’s wife, Kristen, pinned his new badge on his uniform.

Kedzierski thanked retiring Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte — whose last day was Jan. 27 — “for his vision, his leadership and his development of a succession plan,” and said Werenski “will lead us into the next decade.”

In keeping with a longstanding law enforcement tradition, Werenski’s first order of business was calling for a police radio broadcast honoring Schulte for his service and commitment as he retired from a career spanning more than 40 years in public safety. A dispatcher said Schulte “served with distinction, integrity and honor” over those four decades.

Werenski, who started working for the Shores at 19 as a seasonal laborer with the Department of Public Works, thanked his colleagues there and all of the people he credited with getting him to this point, including his family, fellow officers, city staffers and the public safety directors he served under. They include retired Public Safety Director Gary Mitchell, who’s also Werenski’s uncle.

“I wasn’t treated any different,” Werenski said of his time under Mitchell, noting with a laugh that his uncle “wrote me up” at one point. “I addressed him as the chief, and I still do. He was harder on me than anyone (else).”

Werenski said the three directors he worked for — Mitchell, Poloni and Schulte — were “so different” from each other, but all three instilled in him the importance of “customer service” in the Shores, which he said he intends to continue.

Thanking his parents for their support, Werenski recalled his father asking him what he wanted to do with his life, and Werenski responding that he wanted to be a police chief one day.

“It took me 35 years, dad, but I made it,” Werenski said. “I’m here because of all of you. I will do my best. I love Grosse Pointe Shores. This is my family.”

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