Lansing’s Mayor Virg Bernero has appointed Mike Yankowski as the interim police chief for the city, but Yankowski has a chance to imitate its predecessor and become a permanent chief according to officers.
Yankowski will replace Teresa Szymanski, who served in Lansing’s Police Department 26 years. She became the police chief in 2010.
Yankowski used to be the Captain of LPD’s patrol division and has served in LPD for 18 years.
Robert Merrit, public information officer at LPD who has served 23 years, said that despite the change in leadership, policies and procedures do not change. He said that Yankowski will start to put out some of his strategies soon but has not done so yet. He also added that there is a chance for him to keep the position and that looking for a substitute would be counterproductive.
“He’s got the respect from everyone at LPD,” Merrit said. “The mayor has six months to assess his work.”
LPD is currently in budget negotiations with the city council. This year, the last of the 36 police officers that were fired in 2011 were hired back.
Rich Dietrich, an LPD officer assigned to Old Town Lansing, said that the call volume at Old Town has been very low, but that anything can happen anywhere. He also said that in Old Town, most police calls are about theft and destruction of property.
“People are very nice there,” said Dietrich.