Living in the OC: Chief Leimback reflects on 40-year career.

April 16, 2016

image‘Living in the OC’ is sponsored by Springstead Law Offices, with locations in Hart and Fremont, 231-873-4022 (Hart),

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — Hart Police Chief Dan Leimback will retire, June 23, after serving the department for 40 years.

The 62-year-old chief began working for the Hart Police Department part-time in June of 1976, and he became chief Feb. 1, 1980.

imageLeimback’s law enforcement training includes studies at Ferris State University and a training academy through the Michigan State Police.

Originally from Riverview, which is near Detroit, he and his wife Beverly moved to Hart after he got the job with HPD when he was 22 years old. The young couple camped at the city’s John Gurney Park that first summer. They made Hart their home and raised three sons in the small community.

Leimback said he and Beverly have no plans to move from Hart once he retires. “This is our home now. We’ve been here 40 years,” he said.

“We made this our home, and we have a lot of friends in the area. It’s a really nice place to live and raise a family.”

Leimback’s public service goes beyond being a police officer. He has been a firefighter for the Hart Area Fire Department since 1988, and he plans to continue that role after he retires from HPD. He is also the fire board’s secretary/treasurer, and will also continue with that position. “It kind of goes hand-in-hand,” he said of the dual police officer/firefighter role.

The chief has recently taken on yet another role, which is being a loving and proud grandpa. He has one grandchild and a second one on the way.

As he reflects on his long career, the chief said he has enjoyed making lasting friendships with his colleagues. The department has four full-time officers (including himself) and six part-time officers. He has worked many years with SpringsteadVertical_091015his full-time officers Sgt. Kevin Skipski, Juan Salazar and Shawn Anderson.

“I think it’s pretty neat to see how many officers got their start at the Hart Police Department,” he said. “I have enjoyed watching them go on to do great things.”

The chief has observed many changes in law enforcement during his long tenure, and probably the biggest impact has been technology. “When I first started, police reports were handwritten and kept in a loose-leaf folder,” he recalled. “The real important reports were typewritten. Now, there are computers in the cars. That has been a big asset to the guys.”

He said technology has greatly enhanced police radios, as well. Police used to have a different radio for each department, but now everything is on one radio.

“Back years ago, we would have a couple hundred complaints,” the chief said. But the volume of complaints has increased nearly tenfold with 1,500-2,000 annually, he said.

Helping people is what he has enjoyed the most about his career. “It’s a feeling of accomplishment,” he said. He also likes the variety his job provides. “Not every day is the same,” he said. “You don’t know what or when something is going to be called to your attention to deal with. It goes with the job.”

Beverly retired last year after working in the office at Hansen Cold Storage for 39 years. Leimback said they plan to travel once he retires, but they also plan to take advantage of the many fun things to do here in Oceana County.

“We enjoy the area here — this is where people come to go on vacation,” he said.

Leimback said he plans to do more fishing and gardening. “I would like to attempt to golf,” he said of embarking upon a new hobby.

He will also be able to spend more time with his sons: Jason, an electrical engineer in Canton, Michigan; Jeremy, a chiropractor in the Chicago area; and Justin, who is just finishing nursing school and lives in Livonia.

The city is taking applications for the chief position through, May 2, he said. Whoever takes over the job has a great legacy to follow.

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