Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

January 11, 2014

Police captain bids farewell

TRAVERSE CITY — Capt. Brian Heffner spent most of his adult life with the Traverse City Police Department.

On Friday, Heffner bade farewell to the long hours, late night phone calls, National Cherry Festivals spent away from family and countless other small sacrifices in his 26-year career. He’s retiring to spend more time with his wife Cara and two daughters and to teach future generations of law enforcement officers.

“The job of a police officer is really a family job,” he said. “Your family has to be on board with you.”

Heffner started with the department’s Citizens Backup program the day he graduated high school in 1982 and spent several years as a reserve officer. He hired on full-time in 1988 after his graduation from Northwestern Michigan College’s police academy.

A former accounting student, Heffner enjoyed “following the money” in financial investigations upon his promotion to the detective bureau in 1991. He shifted into undercover drug investigations with the Traverse Narcotics Team in 1997, and said the “lifestyle” required — long drives, long hours — wasn’t feasible after the birth of his daughters, now ages 7 and 5.

“It’s one of the things you do earlier in your career,” he said.

Heffner spent five years as the detectives’ captain until moving to patrol in 2013. Traverse City Police Chief Mike Warren said Heffner’s retirement is “definitely” a loss to the department, but he expressed confidence in Sgt. Jeff O’Brien, who’ll officially be promoted into the empty captain’s position on Sunday.

“I’m sure Capt. O’Brien will be a quick learner and fill the position well,” he said.

Detective Kevin Gay will be promoted into O’Brien’s sergeant position.

Heffner said he’s not interested in another position in Traverse City or any other police department. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be out of the law enforcement field completely; he’s continuing to teach at NMC and a joint criminal justice bachelor’s degree program with Ferris State University. It allows students to take three years of classes at NMC and a fourth year taught locally by FSU professors.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl