by BETH ALTENA
One of Rockford’s longest-serving employees is saying goodbye after 30 years with the Rockford Police Department. Lt. Scott Mazur, who joined the Rockford Police Department April 18, 1981, will leave his position as Rockford’s second-highest ranking officer on April 30. A celebration of his service is open to the public on Friday, April 29 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Mazur has worked under four police chiefs and four city managers during his years as a Rockford officer. Joining the department at just 20 years old, he was too young to buy ammunition for his service revolver, a six-shooter Smith and Wesson.
“I went to Meijer to pick up some ammunition and they checked my drivers license,” Mazur recalled. “They said they were sorry but I couldn’t buy it. I had to call my mom and she came and bought it for me.” Mazur said it is a story he tells school kids when they want to know about life’s unfairness.
As a former D.A.R.E. officer, Mazur councils kids on resisting peer pressure to do things like smoking, drinking or doing drugs. “They say I can join the military and fight for our country, but I can’t drink alcohol and I tell them that story. I was a commissioned police officer and I couldn’t buy ammo. Life is like that sometimes.”
Mazur said he has seen plenty of changes in Rockford since his first day as a young officer. He recalled that the MVP Health Club hill was undeveloped, the Ten Mile Bridge over the Rogue River was just completed, and Squires Street was two-way. Police technology is probably the biggest change during his years as an officer. Radios were so big the antenna poked up into officer’s armpits. Reports were typed up at the end of the day on typewriters. There were no personal computers.
“Now, within seconds of making a stop, we have access to state, federal and Canadian information,” he said.
Judge Servaas had his court right in downtown and the Corner Bar was selling hotdogs.
Training has changed. According to Mazur, 30 years ago people pretty much joined the force and were trained. Now officer candidates should have at least a four-year degree and structured training continues. Mazur attended Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University. He said officers now receive ongoing education, such as the FBI crash course he completed in 2009 in police executive development and a 10-month Eastern Michigan University program for police administrators from which he graduated in 2001.
Mazur began his career under Police Chief Peterson, then Chief Turax, then Chief Porter and now serves under Chief Dave Jones.
Jones said Mazur’s work at the department has been very influential. “Scott has been instrumental in the many positive changes made within the police department,” Jones said. “Scott has been invaluable to me not only as a police administrator, but as a friend as well. I will miss the creative energy we created together. I wish Scott the best as he pursues other interests in his career.”
Jones said it is undecided at this time whether Mazur will be replaced. Like the City of Rockford, the police department has been reallocating duties when employees leave, rather than replacing them. “I will be evaluating the police department organization and future budget forecasts prior to making any decisions about replacing Lieutenant Mazur,” Jones said. “In the meantime the current supervisory staff will absorb the day-to-day responsibilities of the lieutenant.”
Mazur said he isn’t sure if he will be taking another job and will at least enjoy the summer off. Activities he enjoys are cooking, meeting new people, boating and traveling. He said there will likely be plenty of tears as he prepares to leave the job that has been so important to him and said he highly recommends the profession.
“I wanted to do something to help people and that’s what I’ve done,” he said.
There is one thing that hasn’t changed in Mazur’s years on the force. “When I started, Mary Eadie was on City Council and I liked her then,” he laughed. “She is still on City Council and I still like her.”
Those who would like to thank Scott Mazur for his long service and good work are welcome to attend a celebration of his years of service to be held Friday, April 29 at Rockford City Hall from 1:30 to 3 p.m. with a presentation to take place at 2 p.m.