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Posted on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Citizens deserve thanks for keeping an eye out for each other

By Rich Kinsey

The public we serve are our eyes and ears. Though we log hundreds of thousands of miles in a patrol car scanning the streets it still is usually a citizen who hears or sees something and calls 911. Those initial calls get police officers and other first responders heading to a scene.

Thank you to all the good neighbors who call 911 when they realize someone needs help. Whether it is a scream in the night, an audible burglary alarm, gun shots, people shouting and arguing, screeching tires or the sickening low thud that crashes produce, that gets a person to pick up the phone and get help moving in the right direction. Thank you to all that call, instead of rolling over in bed and figuring someone else has called.

Thank you to those who witness a crime or suspicious activity, call 911 and stay on the line directing the dispatcher who in turn directs the officer responding to the scene. That “real time” set of eyes warning the police what kind of scene and where the principal players involved are located, save us time, keeps us safe and helps us catch criminals.

Thanks to motorists for doing your duty and stopping at the scene of traffic crashes to render aid. The prompt reporting of the crash, comforting words to a victim and first aid really does save lives.

Being terrified, in peril and alone, a person—in this case a crash victim — can lose hope, go into shock and quickly die. Sometimes the mere presence of another human being can provide comfort. It can provide a person the victim can look in the eye for reassurance.

Those few moments before the “cavalry” — that is first responders — get there are crucial to someone who is critically injured. A low, slow, reassuring voice that help is coming coupled with confident direction for the injured — like “Stay still, help is on the way and I am not leaving you” — can save a life. Thanks to all those who help before first responders arrive — you are heroes and very much appreciated.

Thanks to the citizens who see abuse or neglect of other citizens—those who cannot take care of themselves — and report it to the police. Those calls get police out to check on a person’s condition and get the ball rolling to get the abused and neglected person help, before it is too late.

Thanks to those citizens who donate or volunteer at the social agencies the police depend on like: Safe House, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Shelter Association, Food Gathers, Suicide Hotlines, substance abuse clinics like Dawn Farms, Ozone House, Poison Control, all the churches that feed the hungry and countless other service agencies that are there when people need them. A special thanks to those who give to the police for the Adopt-a-Family program that can bring a little cheer to kids in need on Christmas.

Thanks to taxpayers who pay our salary and do so without complaint. Please know that we in public service really want to do a good job, but we need the resources—personnel and equipment—necessary to get the job done. Thank you for understanding that we can not do our jobs for free, because we have families to feed, clothe and shelter just like you. Thanks for not begrudging the pensions we earned when they are published in the media at contract negotiation time and thanks for understanding that we retire early only because statistically our lives will be at least ten years shorter, on average, than yours.

Thanks to the citizens we come in contact with, that take the time write a card or tell our bosses when we have done a good job. Some of those cards, letters or phone calls are what keep us going. Some of those written words are kept forever as cherished reminders that maybe our life’s work really did make a difference—at least to one person on one occasion.

This may sound odd, but thanks to those who critique us and complain when they feel we have done a bad job. In the long run, those critiques make us better, stronger and more professional—even though at the time they are received they may sting. Sometimes those complaints identify problems and get us resources. Sometimes they cull those who should not be in our profession and make our police departments stronger with men and women who lead with their hearts and take pride in doing good and proper police work.

Thanks to those citizens who smile and wave as we drive by—those small gestures mean more to us than you can imagine.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.

Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for



Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

Thank you all! Stay vigilant!

Cendra Lynn

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

I've been a Citizen Volunteer for the police for a decade, and a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain for 25 years. I stand in awe of our police and firefighters who keep their standards and professionalism high even when the idiocy of our current city government keeps jeopardizing their safety with cuts. Every time one of your vehicles goes down Huron near my block, I send out a mental Thank You and Be Safe! Thanks to you, Rich, for making this known to so many more people.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

Excellent column Rich. I emailed it to my son & nephew who both are firefighters in Bay City & Grand Rapids respectively. And many thanks to you & your colleagues for their service to all.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

Dear Rich, I always enjoy your columns, happy thanksgiving to you and yours! I will make it a habit henceforth to wave whenever I see a patrol car go by. sincerely, Madeleine B., aka "Mady"


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Thanks Rich for your columns. I do not have time to read the entire on a daily basis, but your blogs are a must read for me. Also want to put out a thanks (again) to the witness who spotted the man riding a bicycle like mad at Briarwood and called it in as suspicious when he threw it in a vehicle a while back. You didn't know what exactly was going on at the time, but your actions would help put a bank robber behind bars. That was the coolest thing I read on here that month. Happy Thanksgiving to you, and to you Rich and Family, and all those who appreciate what law enforcement does for community.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

Yes, thanks to the citizens who help solve crimes while the aapd continues driving all over town looking for people who make turns without using their turn signals.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Ouch. Sounds like someone recently got a ticket for not using turn signals.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

lefty, if you can't say anything nice.........


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

Thank you, Rich, for another wonderful column! I look forward to your columns each week. Thanks to the Police Department and Fire Department for keeping our citizens safe. I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. Keep those columns coming!!


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Isn't this a local dairy company? Dawn Farms? "substance abuse clinics like Dawn Farms,"

Cendra Lynn

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

Google can be useful with questions like these...

Cole Bertsos

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Though a dairy company along the lines of that name sounds familiar, it actually is a treatment facility: Hope that clears up the confusion!

Linda Peck

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Happy Thanksgiving, Mr Kinsey, to you and your family. Thank you for your service and for writing these good articles. Now, more than ever, I appreciate all that the service people in the Police Department and Fire Department do for us. I hope that down the road more people in City Council will understand this, and put the money into these departments that is needed, and very soon. I have never looked on a patrol car as a threat, but as a protection. Thank you once again from my heart.

Just Be Nice

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Thanks for another great column. I recently phoned WCSD to report an oddly behaving salesperson who was going door-to-door in our neighborhood. It was at night, bad weather, etc. The deputy seemed annoyed with my call, but I would phone again in a heartbeat.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Thanks, Rich, for giving us the other side of the story each week. Every column is thought-provoking, or heartwarming, or funny. Sometimes I want to just shake my head and say, "How can someone be so dumb?" But what you have to say is always worth reading. Keep it up!