Saline Police Chief Larry Hrinik will retire in November after 43 years in law enforcement.
“I’ve worked in law enforcement for 43 years, the last five and a half in Saline. It’s time to start a new chapter in life. We (he and wife Barbara) are looking forward to it,” Hrinik said.
Hrinik, 62, was hired as police chief in Saline in 2012. He replaced interim chief Mike Lindman after longtime chief Paul Bunten retired. Hrinik came to Saline after serving as police chief in Davison Township from 1993 to 2012. Hrinik began his career in law enforcement in Buena Vista Township in 1974.
Hrinik’s tenure in Saline has had its ups and downs. Saline’s falling crime rates is a source of pride for the Saline Police Department.
The Saline Police Department has also done more foot patrol and spent more time going into businesses to talk to merchants and business owners.
Officer morale was a problem dating back to Chief Bunten’s tenure. Hrinik had devised several initiatives to improve morale. The annual awards presentation at a Saline City Council meeting have been well received. Hrinik and city council reorganized the department to eliminate the deputy chief position and double the number of sergeants to four. It was hoped that more opportunities for promotion might help improve morale but the opposite happened when longtime employees were passed over.
A lawsuit by longtime detective Don Lupi reflected some of the turmoil in the department. Hrinik’s decision to demote Sgt. Chris Boulter also led to legal action. Lupi dropped his lawsuit and the city won its legal action with Boulter.
Despite the drama, Hrinik has his backers in the department – and not only the officers he hired. One long-time officer praised Hrinik, saying he’s supportive if you don’t cause trouble within the department.
At one point, the issues in the department led for city council to hire an outside contractor to review the department. Retired officer Jon Hess, in a report to council, called the department “broken” and suggested improvements in communication, policy and training.
The level of controversy in the department has died down over the last 12 months as Hrinik and the Department have implemented new policies and worked to improve communication.