Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Canton Township Police Community Relations Officer retires

Canton Township Police Department Community Relations Officer Patricia Esselink has retired after 23-year on the force.

Esselink began her career with Canton in 2001. Initially serving as a patrol officer, she responded to calls for service, provided traffic enforcement, conducted criminal investigations, and responded to emergency situations throughout the community. In addition to her patrol duties, Esselink was selected early on to participate in numerous special units including those of TEAM (Teaching, Educating and Mentoring), Explorer Unit, Bicycle Unit, and the Rapid Response Unit. Esselink maintained active roles in each of these special units throughout her career, attaining lead officer status as a TEAM instructor and Explorer Unit advisor. She excelled at engaging with the youth participating in both programs—one focusing on safety skills for young children, and the other providing training and insight for teens interested in a career in law enforcement, according to a prepared statement from department officials. 

In 2013, Esselink left road patrol for a position as an investigator in the department detective bureau. She quickly became a valuable member of the unit, displaying a passion for thoroughly investigating a wide array of criminal cases, officials said and she received numerous awards and citations for her work while assigned to this special unit.

Two years later, Esselink made a significant move in her career, accepting her current position as Community Relations Officer. In this position, Esselink found her niche by combining her passion for police work with her intrinsic ability of positive interpersonal communications, the statement continued. Over the past nine years she has become the face of the department—transforming the position into an all-encompassing, public safety wellbeing campaign for residents of all ages, abilities, and situations. Her expansion of the position included development of custom educational programs and assistance to address the specific needs of our community’s youth, teens, adults, senior citizens, and those otherwise in need, striving to make their lives safer and better than she found them. She has also worked with the neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and places of worship to ensure they have the knowledge and tools necessary to provide safe environments for those who gather in their facilities, officials said. 

During the last six years Esselink has also served as a Department Training Instructor, working with a team of peers tasked with providing a variety of annual and specialty training for sworn personnel. As a senior officer, Esselink was able to incorporate her expertise and experience to provide mentoring for officers at varying stages of their careers. Her knowledge, positive energy, and laughter will be missed by all, officials noted. 

“Officer Esselink has set herself apart within the law enforcement community. Her approach to policing, marked by a dedication to bridging the gap between the community and the police department, stands as a model of service,” said Police Chief Chad Baugh. “Officer Esselink's outstanding contributions have been instrumental in fostering a strong bond between the police and the community, demonstrating the profound impact that one individual can have in enhancing public safety and community relations. As she shifts into retirement, her legacy of service, leadership, and community engagement will continue to inspire current and future generations within our police department,” Baugh added.