Greenville sergeant retires after almost three decades

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:45 am on Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sgt. Randy Elzinga, second from left, works at the scene of the November 2011 Huntington Bank robbery in Greenville. Elzinga retired from the Greenville Department of Public Safety in late August. — File photo

GREENVILLE — After 29 years of serving the Greenville Community, a sergeant is hanging up his hat as he prepares to enjoy the next chapter of his life.

Sgt. Randy Elzinga retired from the Greenville Department of Public Safety in late August. He first joined the department when it was switching over to the public safety concept.

“I was the first police- and fire-trained officer (Greenville) hired,” Elzinga said.

Over the years, he worked his way up through the ranks, holding positions as officer, corporal and sergeant.

Throughout his career, Elzinga had many accomplishments, such as receiving four life-saving awards, which are some of the moments that stick out to him.

“Anytime I am able to help (someone in need) has been a memorable moment,” Elzinga said.

Elzinga has worked on many cases during his 29 years. However, he said the biggest cases during his career as an officer were a double, single and two attempted homicides that occurred in Greenville.

“Sometimes I had to take a minute and think how surreal the situation is, that someone could do that,” he said.

Greenville Department of Public Safety Director Michael Pousak said Elzinga was a dedicated officer.

“(Elzinga) genuinely cared about the community and providing quality service,” Pousak said. “His job knowledge and work ethic will be missed.”

While thinking back over the years, Elzinga, noted some changes the department went through.  Some of the changes include being more automated, officers dictating reports instead of writing them and the work volume growing over the years as the town grew.

It was Elzinga’s brother who influenced him to go into the police force because he too was an officer.

“I discovered (being an officer) was a really fulfilling way to make a living,” Elzinga said. “Every day I love what I am doing.”

The easy answer to what Elzinga is going to miss the most about his career as an officer, he said, are the people.

“I am going to miss the people I worked with a lot,” he said. “But I am going to miss always having the ability to help somebody.”

So far during his retirement, Elzinga has ventured to Canada and participated in a moose hunt. He plans to continue to enjoy his hobbies of hunting, fishing, working around the house and spending time with family — which includes a new granddaughter.

“We are fortunate that Randy has decided to continue his services with the city as a paid-on-call firefighter,” Pousak said.

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