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End of career may not be goodbye

DuMouchelles Embedded
February 14, 2013
GROSSE POINTE SHORES - Retirement won't stop the city's most-veteran public safety officer.

Although Lt. James Demeulenaere wrapped up his 27 1/2 year career in Grosse Pointe Shores last week, he hasn't said his last goodbye.

“I look forward to coming back in some capacity, if they'll have me,” Demeulenaere said. “Maybe I'll work at the park part time.”

Demeulenaere joined the Shores in 1985.

“I couldn't work in a better place for better residents,” he said.

He's been the department's senior shift commander for 13 years.

“I first worked with Jim starting in 1988 when we were both assigned to the Grosse Pointe-Harper Woods special response team, some of the best days of my career and, I know, his, too,” said John Schulte, Shores public safety chief.

On Demeulenaere's second day on the job, he responded to a house fire.

“(Former chief) Gary Mitchell and I were the first ones there,” Demeulenaere said.

He's known for dry humor.

A few years ago, he started a rumor that immediate past-chief Stephen Poloni was afraid of fish flies.

A television reporter took the joke seriously and broadcast it.

“I never heard the end of that,” Demeulenaere said.

Poloni, now directing public safety in the City of Grosse Pointe, thought it was funny.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work with such a fine officer,” Poloni said. “He was dedicated to the village. I hate to see him leave.”

Demeulenaere received his retirement badge in the company of his wife, Pam.

“We lost a wonderful employee,” said Mark Wollenweber, Shores city manager.

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