By ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON —Todd Scheffler served his last day as police chief Sept. 10, retiring from the Police Department after 27 years of service. Deputy Chief Mike Oakley was selected to become the city’s new police chief by Mayor Steven Rzeppa.
Scheffler spoke during the Sept. 7 City Council meeting where he thanked the multiple employees and departments, starting with Rzeppa and the council.
“I appreciate your appointment for this position,” he said. “You had confidence in me to take the job. You’re very easy to communicate with and easy to work with and I truly appreciate that. The council — continued support you gave our department through all the turmoil that’s gone on around the country last year — it’s much appreciated. Can’t thank you enough.”
Council members congratulated Scheffler on his retirement and thanked him for his service.
Scheffler has been working in the department since 1994 when he was given a job by former Chief Jerry Brown. He graduated from Trenton High School and Ferris State University before serving in multiple positions, including lieutenant.
In 2017, Scheffler was appointed as chief by late Mayor Kyle Stack.
Scheffler acknowledged the city clerk, treasurer and assessors offices, saying it was great to work with them.
“Department heads and employees, I can’t say enough,” Scheffler said. “The great work you guys do day in and day out, it’s unbelievable. I’ve been to many functions where people have no idea who I am and they’re talking about the city of Trenton. It’s unbelievable the services you get being a citizen of this community.”
He also had high praise for the Fire Department and firefighters, sighting their work when his house was on fire last month.
He then congratulated Oakley on being selected as the new chief.
“Mike does an excellent job for our place,” Scheffler said. “Well respected by our officers and all our employees, mild mannered, easy to work with, has many connections and an ability to get things done.”
Scheffler called his assistant, Amy Gilstorf, “incredible.”
“Everybody knows Amy, and it is great to go to work and walk in the door and there’s somebody with a smile on their face,” Scheffler said. “It makes your day go a little bit better.”
He also spoke about the city’s dispatchers, clerks and bureaus.
“Our dispatchers, they’re the true front line for our first responders, police and fire,” Scheffler said. “They take the calls, they set the tone to get things started off and handled correctly and they do a tremendous job.
“Our clerks, they work behind the scenes and do an outstanding job. You wouldn’t believe the volume of paperwork that they deal with. Our crossing guards, that goes without saying. They keep our kids safe.”
He also thanked residents and business owners, saying, “Without them — makes the police job really, really, difficult. Their support verbally, letters, signs, gift cards, food. It was unbelievable the support we’ve gotten over the years.”
Scheffler applauded partnering agencies including those on the local level as well as neighboring communities, county sheriff’s department, Michigan State Police and federal agencies.
Scheffler became emotional when speaking about his wife, family and friends.
“My career was always in the front seat, hers always in the back seat,” he said. “She was always supportive and proud of my job. I want to thank the Trenton Police Department itself for the opportunities, 27 years ago Mayor and Ex-Chief Jerry Brown gave me a job. I was a kid working in the county jail, to grow up here, gave me a shot and opportunity.”
Rzeppa called Sheffler an incredible officer and incredible leader for the department.
“There is often times people go through life and wonder whether or not they made a difference, and I know you’ll never have that problem,” Rzeppa said. “There’s a select group of people that will be able to know that the community is quite literally measurably a better place because you’ve been a part of it.
“Can’t say thank you or understate that enough and certainly thank you to your family for letting us have you for so long. Congratulations again, you very, very much deserved it.”
Oakley has been with the department for almost 26 years and has spent a little over a year serving as deputy chief.
“We’re going to be in great hands under now Chief Oakley’s leadership,” Rzeppa said. “I’m really excited for all that he has to offer. I could not be any more confident in his abilities.”
Oakley began his position as chief Sept. 11.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])