By Jim Newell
The police officers of the Lake Orion Police Department are hosting a retirement party for former Chief Jerry Narsh on Friday to thank him for his 38 years of service to the Lake Orion community.
Narsh’s retirement party begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 10 at 313 Pizza, 37 E. Flint St. The public is invited to attend and share memories and best wishes, said Sgt. Todd Stanfield.
Narsh announced his retirement from the LOPD in November and has taken a position as police chief for the Village of Holly Police Department.
“We would like to thank Chief Narsh for his 38 years of dedicated service to Lake Orion. His career started in 1981 as a reserve officer. He became a part-time patrol officer in 1982. Chief Narsh was promoted to fulltime in 1988, then promoted to lieutenant in 1995. (He) became chief in 2001, where he remained for the last 18 years,” said Acting Police Chief Harold Rossman.
Stanfield, who served with Narsh for 24 years, said there will be a slideshow of Narsh’s career with the LOPD. He also encourages guests to share their memories during the farewell. There will be a limited menu and cash bar during the party.
“They can come and say goodbye and good luck and tell stories,” Stanfield said. “I’m sure some of our business owners would love to come by and say ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye.’”
“Chief Narsh’s policing style (was) open-door, open-heart and open communication. Chief had a lot of respect for his officers and citizens he has served. Chief Narsh believed in creating trust between the citizens and our department. Our officers, under Chief Narsh’s direction, went out every day to improve people’s lives and build that trust,” Rossman said.
During his career with the LOPD, Narsh developed many programs that benefit the community, including Kids & Kops, Kops who Care and Shop with a Hero, Rossman said.
The Kids & Kops program at Blanche Sims Elementary gives students the opportunity to meet and play games with Lake Orion police officers in a non-threatening manner to show them that police officers are just like them. From board games to basketball and floor hockey, ping pong and pizza, the evening is a fun free-for-all.
“The whole idea, especially with young kids, is to learn that we’re people, too, and we care about them,” Narsh said during a Kids & Kop evening. “We want to develop a relationship that will, hopefully, last a lifetime. So, when they’re in high school they’ll see an LOPD officer and say, ‘Hi officer, I remember you from Kids & Kops.’ And with that they have a trust that only comes from this type of program. And that’s invaluable.”
Kops who Care was developed to assist seniors in the community who need help with projects around the home such as lawn mowing and snow shoveling. Kops who Care has also helped with the Children’s Park gazebo project and other parks projects.
Narsh also grew the LOPD and Friends Shop with a Hero program from supporting only a dozen or so kids in its inaugural year, to an event that annually helps around 100 Orion youth have a merrier Christmas.
He brought back the Lake Orion Marine Patrol last year, and has worked on numerous bills with Michigan legislators, Rossman said.
Narsh still lives in Lake Orion and was appointed to the village council in December.