Seasoned Grosse Pointe Shores detective retires after career of cracking cases

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 24, 2023

 Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Detective Lt. Scott Rohr — seen here in front of the Shores’ ambulance — started his career as a paramedic.

Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Detective Lt. Scott Rohr — seen here in front of the Shores’ ambulance — started his career as a paramedic.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran


GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A veteran Grosse Pointe Shores Public Safety Department detective has closed his last case file.

Detective Lt. Scott Rohr, 53, retired May 3, exactly 27 years after he started working for the city. He’s believed to be the longest-serving detective in the Grosse Pointes, having started working with the Shores’ detective bureau circa 1998. Rohr has been the lead investigator in the Shores since about 2010.

In a small public safety department like the Shores, Rohr had multiple responsibilities, including serving as the EMS coordinator since 2001, the evidence technician, the juvenile officer, the gun rangemaster and the Local Area Security Officer, or LASO. In addition, he managed all the department’s investigations and prosecutions.

Rohr said being a detective “allowed me to expand my career opportunities and explore other areas of the position — investigations, field work, the challenges of paperwork, using different aspects of training. There’s a plethora of other responsibilities.”

Public Safety Director Kenneth Werenski worked with Rohr during Rohr’s whole career.

“Just to call him a detective is an understatement,” Werenski said. “He wears a lot of hats, and therefore replacing him takes time. We have to groom someone else to wear those hats and run this (division).”

Shores Municipal Court Clerk Sue Butkovich praised Rohr for his “high work ethic and integrity.” A former Shores Public Safety dispatcher, Butkovich has worked for the city for more than 30 years. She said Rohr has gotten multiple convictions over the course of his career, bringing those cases to a successful close.

“I’ve known Scott for a very long time,” Butkovich said. “I have a lot of respect for him. He’s extremely knowledgeable in the field. He’s very precise.”

She said Rohr had the ability to calmly defuse a tense situation and keep it from escalating.

“I’m going to miss him terribly,” Butkovich said of Rohr, who she said is “like a big brother” to her. “He was my go-to person if I had a problem with a case or a police report.”

She said all of those years of knowledge and experience will be missed by others in the department as well.

No one in Rohr’s family was in law enforcement. He grew up in East Detroit — now called Eastpointe — where his dad was a mechanic and his mother was a stay-at-home mom.

Rohr holds a paramedic license from the state, is Firefighter I and Firefighter II certified, is an instructor coordinator for paramedics, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in public safety from Sienna Heights University.

Rohr’s official first day with the department was on May 3, 1996, but he started working in the Shores even before that. Rohr spent about six years as a paramedic for Taylor Ambulance, and for the last couple of those years, he found himself stationed in Grosse Pointe Shores. This was before the Shores Public Safety Department was triple trained — with all officers either being emergency medical technicians or paramedics. Today, the city operates its own ambulance service for residents.

“As I was working as a paramedic here, I enjoyed the structure of the Public Safety (Department) and pursued that as a career based on that experience,” Rohr said.

He also found the tiny, close-knit community to be a special place to work.

“I enjoy working for the city,” Rohr said. “I enjoy our residents. I think we have some of the best residents anywhere. I think they care about the department, and in turn, the department cares about them.”

Rohr was promoted to sergeant circa December 2003 and ascended to the rank of lieutenant on Dec. 26, 2012.

One of the first cases Rohr ever worked on was one around the late 1990s involving cloned cellphones. At that time, he said cellphones operated by using a radio signal, not transmitting data digitally like they do know. In addition, that was an era in which most cellphone plans charged users based on the number of minutes they were talking on the phone, so minutes were a valuable — and costly — commodity. Rohr said the suspects in this case were stealing the radio signal of legitimate cellphone subscribers and putting multiple phones on that radio signal, so the cloned phone users could make calls free of charge, while the victim ended up with a high bill for all those fraudulent minutes of usage.

A lot has changed since then — including the technology — but the objective for a detective remains the same.

“It’s always enjoyable to see a case through to fruition to see (a suspect) brought to justice after they’ve victimized a resident,” Rohr said. “That’s a rewarding part of the job.”

Rohr said he’ll miss the camaraderie with his co-workers.

Although Rohr is a licensed real estate broker and licensed lender — something he’s done in his spare time for years — he said he hopes to find a new position in law enforcement in the area. He didn’t have anything lined up at press time but would accept the right opportunity if it came along.

“I still feel a passion towards law enforcement,” Rohr said.

For now, Rohr plans to tackle projects around his Macomb Township home and anticipates traveling, tinkering with his 1967 Camaro and doing more adventure biking.

Rohr is the father of a 19-year-old son who’s heading to college soon. His wife is a teacher.

“We’ll miss him,” Werenski said. “His thumbprint was everywhere, in the way we conduct our investigations, in our policy and procedures. … A little piece of Scott Rohr will be here for a long time.”