2017-02-16 / News

Flushing Police Departments work together for a safe community

By Sam Tunningley


Flushing Township Police Chief Brian Fairchild, Rotary Club of Flushing members Darwin Scherba and Marty Barta presented Officer Jim Hough [C-L] with the Service Above Self Award ceremony for his work as a school resource officer at the Flushing High School. Fairchild said all the officers keep a close relationship with the district, and Hough regularly brings Colt, his K-9 Golden Retriever, to interact with the student body. Photo provided by Rotary member Seth Esterline Flushing Township Police Chief Brian Fairchild, Rotary Club of Flushing members Darwin Scherba and Marty Barta presented Officer Jim Hough [C-L] with the Service Above Self Award ceremony for his work as a school resource officer at the Flushing High School. Fairchild said all the officers keep a close relationship with the district, and Hough regularly brings Colt, his K-9 Golden Retriever, to interact with the student body. Photo provided by Rotary member Seth Esterline Police departments are a central component of any community. That is certainly the case for officers in the City of Flushing Police and Flushing Township Police Departments as they cooperate around the clock to respond with immediate action and care to keep the community safe.

Lead by Flushing Township Police Chief Brian Fairchild, Flushing Township has six full-time officers and four part-time. The City of Flushing Police Department, lead City of Flushing Police Chief by Mark Hoornstra, has 10 full-time employees. When in doubt, or if assistance is needed, both departments rely on each other to provide assistance according to both Fairchild and Hoornstra. Both departments are also actively engaged in training and updating technology to better serve the community.

Hoornstra has been in his position since 2007, bringing with him his experience working for the Ann Arbor Police Department.

Steve Colowsky, a detective with the city’s department since 1989, works closely with Hoornstra to ensure crime scene investigation is organized properly. In the first few months after Hoornstra hired in, Colowsky was the only one who could perform this type of work, but a new program was implemented soon after for officers to work with the detective on an 18-month rotation period.

“In the last 10 years, well over half the department has been able to work (with Colowsky),” said Hoornstra.

The officers learn how to communicate with the prosecutor’s office and the process involved with handling DNA. Colowsky attributes much of his knowledge to his experience with FANG (Flint Area Narcotics Group), where he gained exposure to a multitude of cases, including those involving hostile individuals.

Hoornstra said the department is also working on new technology -- something that has progressed from primitive to advanced over the span of a decade. Interviews can now be conducted in-office thanks to recently installed cameras, and 80 percent of the computer systems have been updated.

Fairchild had similar things to say about the rapid improvements in police software and equipment. Modifications to the required vests have made officers able to breathe freely with less constraint, and case files have become digitized, replacing the need for storing cabinets.

Training at Flushing Township is also of primary importance. Officers attend seminars through the Law Enforcement Officers Regional Training Commission (LEORTC) to learn firearm safety, pressure point procedures and proper conduct in dealing with the mentally ill. Fairchild said the LEORTC received a grant for firearm simulators, which can help a great deal with training and practicing.

Flushing Community Schools, as the largest employer in the township, has a working relationship with the police department. Fairchild hired Jim Hough, a school resource officer who received the Rotary Club’s Service Above Self Award this year, as part of the high school’s staff to ensure operations run according to plan. Hough is known for bringing his drug-sniffing dog Colt in to interact with the student body.

Fairchild’s passion toward the school district stems from his work as a DARE officer in the 1990s. “I see the benefit we get out of students and police interacting,” said Fairchild.

Both officers agree that working together for the benefit of the community is beneficial to everyone, and in the end, said Fairchild it comes down to this - “We save lives, and we do what we’re trained to do.”

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