Saying goodbye to the Michigan State Police after 23 years

Published 9:40 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

It is with humbled, excited and mixed emotions that I am writing my last “Ask Trooper Rob” article.

On Thursday, June 9, 2016, I am officially retired from the Michigan State Police. I have purchased my military time and on Monday, June 6, 2016, completed my 23rd year in the greatest law enforcement agency in the world. This qualifies me for regular retirement from the department. It has been a great career and excellent experience.

I served nine years and nine months in the U.S. Army as Military Police. I went through the ranks from Private (E1) to Sergeant First Class (E7). I was stationed in Germany twice and Virginia twice. I was stationed at a nuclear storage facility as a tower guard, at a training base where I served as a desk sergeant, at a military intelligence site as an entry control sergeant and training sergeant, then finally to another training base where I was a patrol supervisor for road troops and a team leader for the Special Reaction Team.

Six months after leaving the military service, I was at the Michigan State Police academy to begin another glorious career.

I have been assigned to Niles since 1993 and have served as a road trooper, court officer, post community services officer, background investigator, recruiter, juvenile officer, community service trooper and crime scene technician. I have also been assigned to the desk in the dispatch center while on light duty due to a broken ankle.

Throughout these assignments and duties, I have had contact with numerous police officers, court personnel, school personnel and citizens that have given me experience, advice and, of course, some interesting stories.

Twenty-three years is a long time for this type of profession and has given me some memorable times. I was the first Michigan law enforcement car to have contact with the suspect in the Bertrand Products shooting in 2001. This was an experience that I will always have with me.

I’m not a snake person so when my sergeant sent me to a local credit union to chase a snake out of the parking lot, I was slightly hesitant. I was told it was probably a corn snake sitting by the door. Upon arrival there was a 13-foot Burmese python slithering around the door. When the owner was flagged down and picked up “Damian,” I was relieved.

Then, of course, the difference I hope I made with people is a great accomplishment. I made the decision to defer a young student from the court system and worked out corrective actions with the victim of this person’s bad choice. A year or so later, I hear someone yelling “Trooper Rob, Trooper Rob” in the Walmart parking lot. It was the same young man. His grades improved, the farmer hired him full time, home life was great, and he was getting a college scholarship. He thanked me for giving him the chance to accomplish that.

So, faithful readers, it has been a pleasure giving you information about traffic and criminal laws, safety, and monthly themes to make a difference for you or someone around you.

I thank Leader Publications and the Ionia Sentinel-Standard for the opportunity to write these articles for the past five years. I hope this article has been useful to you and possibly gave you information to make a difference.

F/Lt Michael Dawson, Post Commander of the Niles Post, has informed me that another Trooper will be continuing this type of informative article in the near future.

I wish you all the best of luck in all your travels and endeavors. Stay safe, stay aware and stay responsible. It has been an honor to serve you, the public, for these 23 years.


Trooper Rob Herbstreith was the community service trooper with the Michigan State Police Niles Post.