Members of the Troy Police Department honor guard and, from the left, Troy City Council members Dave Henderson, David Hamilton, Mayor Dane Slater, Ellen Hodorek and Ed Pennington pay tribute to police who lost their lives in the line of duty at the Troy Police Memorial Day ceremony at the Troy Police Department May 16.

Members of the Troy Police Department honor guard and, from the left, Troy City Council members Dave Henderson, David Hamilton, Mayor Dane Slater, Ellen Hodorek and Ed Pennington pay tribute to police who lost their lives in the line of duty at the Troy Police Memorial Day ceremony at the Troy Police Department May 16.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Troy police honorees share their stories

Police Week celebrates those who wear the badge

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 22, 2019


TROY — The Troy Police Department honored the men and women who protect and serve, and those who lost their lives on the job, during National Police Week last week.

During the Police Memorial Day ceremony at the Troy Police Department May 16, Chief Frank Nastasi paid tribute to fallen officers, and he recognized outstanding achievements by police personnel later that morning at a luncheon.

Detective Todd Guske, a 24-year veteran of the department, was named the 2019 Police Officer of the Year because of his exceptional skill and hard work, which has resulted in cracking two major fraud cases.

He is assigned to the Southeast Michigan Financial Crimes Task Force, a Secret Service-run group of federal and local investigators.

Guske successfully completed an investigation of an $18.2 million criminal operation that was buying and selling fraudulently obtained prepaid credit cards. His investigation of an ATM skimming group acting in Troy, Royal Oak and surrounding areas led to an arrest of the ringleader.

He has received numerous awards, including a certificate of recognition from FBI Director Robert Mueller for outstanding contributions to the Detroit Metro Identity Fraud Task Force. He received the Sir Robert Peel Award from the University of Detroit Mercy for excellence in the security administration graduate program.

His supervisors nominated him because of his character and his skill. He is known for his professional attitude, diligence, commitment and strong work ethic.

Guske told C & G Newspapers  that he got into police work to “catch the bad guys and get evil off the street.”

His favorite part is working with his co-workers and the camaraderie.

“I like what I do,” he said. “It’s a very rewarding career. It’s never the same, always different.”

He said it’s a challenge for him when he feels the “sentences aren’t long enough for the bad guys.”

Guske earned a master’s degree in security administration from the University of Detroit Mercy and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University, and is a graduate of Royal Oak Kimball High School.

Sgt. Meghan Lehman was named Command Officer of the Year. She serves in the agency’s community services section, guiding community relations, social media and media relations efforts.

She led the charge to create the Troy Police Department Feline Unit and install Pawfficer Donut — using social media to increase community connection and quickly release emergency information.

Under her supervision, the community services section offered 157 community programs attended by more than 28,000 people in 2018. The programs included the Halloween Safety Bash and Pawfficer Donut’s “Pawsitivity” Program.

She has been with the agency for 15 years and previously served in the juvenile unit as an investigator and also as a school resource officer. Lehman was the Officer of the Year in 2010 for her investigative work on juvenile cases.

She has a background in communications and as a news reporter in college and high school.

Lehman told C & G Newspapers that as a child, she wanted to be a detective.

“Once I started working, I found I could change directions within the department,” she said. “There was lots of opportunities for growth and different challenges.

“It really fell into place. I really have the opportunity to make a big impact.

“That’s my favorite part, the opportunity to make a difference,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be something huge to make someone’s life better in a small way every day.”

Lehman said the challenge of police work is the schedule — nights, weekends and holidays — which takes a toll, but she said she is blessed with her current work schedule.

“It’s a great department to work for,” she added. “I’ve always had a lot of confidence in our very ethical leadership. They value having a work-life balance.”

Lehman earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. She is also accredited in public relations through the Public Relations Society of America.

She graduated from Livonia Franklin High School.

Police Service Aide Peter Guest was named the Non-Sworn Employee of the Year for his contributions to drunken driving cases through Breathalyzer administration, documentation and courtroom testimony, as well as his outstanding work ethic.

He has administered over 250 Breathalyzer exams and has testified in many drunken driving cases. Through his professionalism, knowledge and meticulous reports, he has contributed positively to numerous cases.

Guest is currently a lockup training officer, training new hires. His supervisor reports that he is an exceptional trainer, demonstrating unquestionable integrity.

He joined the Troy Police Department in 2006 after 20 years in sales-related positions. He worked as an educational music distributor and also as a travel agency owner.

He told C & G Newspapers  that this is his favorite job.

“I’m quite honored. It’s greatly appreciated.”

Guest said his sales background helps him to explain how the law works and ask those under arrest to cooperate and take a breath test. “If you refuse, you automatically lose your driver’s license,” he said.

Guest has published percussion solo and ensemble music, jazz band music, and concert band music. He had his own jazz band from 1973 to 1980, Pete Guest and the Staff, and performed in front of President Gerald R. Ford at a political rally. He is a graduate of Groves High School and Oakland Community College.

At the Police Memorial Day ceremony, Nastasi paid tribute to the department’s fallen officers:

• Officer Charles Smetana, 33, died on Dec. 11, 1969, while he was responding to an injury accident and was involved in a crash himself.

• Officer Martin Chivas, 24, died on April 22, 1974, when he was shot while investigating a burglary involving prison escapees in the midst of a multistate crime spree.

• Officer Charles Mulvihill, 44, died on Sept. 11, 2001, when he suffered heart failure while responding to a call for service.

• Police Service Aide Stephanie Steele, 22, was killed by a drunken driver on July 19, 1999. A weeping cherry tree is planted in her honor at the Police Department.

“This is the eighth time I’ve had the honor and privilege of being here today,” said Mayor Dane Slater, who retired from the Troy Police Department as a captain.