East Lansing promotes policeman, firefighters

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Many employees from the East Lansing Police and Fire Departments came to see the promotions of some policeman and firefighters at the East Lansing City Council meeting on Oct. 16.

Natalie Kerwin

Randy Talifarro celebrates the promotions of Pat Greathouse (left) and Lt. Mark Koonter (right).

Chad Connelly was promoted to captain of the East Lansing Police Department. Connelly has degrees from Central Michigan University, Lake Superior State University, and Michigan State University. After college, he was hired by the East Lansing Police Department and has been there for 20 years. He was hired as a policeman back in 1998, promoted to sergeant in 2012, lieutenant in 2016, and captain on Aug. 31 of this year.

Just a few of Connelly’s special assignments include K-9 handler, K-9 supervisor, special response team, detective sergeant and detective lieutenant.

“Chad has been active in community outreach and that’s one of the main missions of our police department,” said Police Chief Larry Sparkes. “He’s president of the Police Athletic League, and he’s been with that and been involved in that program since 1998 when he walked in the door. I’ve worked with Chad his entire career. He’s a good cop, a great supervisor, and an even better person.”

Fire Chief Randy Talifarro announced two promotions.

Lt. Mark Koonter has nearly 20 years on the job. He’s been a lieutenant for the East Lansing Fire Department for two years and a medic for 23. Beyond that, he’s been very active in fire department committees and other activities. Most recently, Koonter ran in the Chicago Marathon and he did that to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Firefighter paramedic Pat Greathouse is a 10-year East Lansing Fire Department employee. He attended Lansing Community College and Grand Valley State University and worked about 10 years as a machinist. Later, he decided to change careers, so he became a firefighter paramedic.

“Often, people say leadership begins at the top, and for me it doesn’t end at the top. Perhaps it begins there. We’re striving to have leaders in place and I think that is true of each of these individuals whether they’re at the firefighter rank or in the officer rank,” said Talifarro. “They have been just outstanding employees and they exemplify what we would like to have in the East Lansing Fire Department.”