Trooper Goodrich honored for 25 years of service

April 20, 2013
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Dale Goodrich, left, talks to friends during his retirement party.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

HAMLIN TWP. – Friends, family and co-workers gathered at Lincoln Hills Country Club Saturday night to pay tribute to Michigan State Police Trooper Dale Goodrich. After 25 years of service, Goodrich retired on March 29.

Goodrich, a resident of Mason County’s Grant Township, has served this area as a trooper since 2000, assigned to the MSP Hart Post. He also served in Jonesville, Reed City and Grand Haven.

The club’s reception hall was full and the accolades were many for Goodrich. The evening started with a legislative tribute presented by Sen. Goeff Hansen of Hart. The tribute, signed by Hansen, Rep. Jon Bumstead of Newaygo and Gov. Rick Snyder, thanked Goodrich for his dedication and service to the state of Michigan.

“We have been proud of you from the day you graduated from the police academy to the day you retired,” Goodrich’s father-in-law Curtiss Berndt said. “I use the word trust when I describe a police officer, no matter what post they hold. We have always trusted you that you would do the right thing and you have.”

Many others spoke about their experiences with Goodrich, as friends and colleagues. Fellow law enforcement officers included Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, Ludington Police Officer Tony Kuster (who served with Goodrich also as a trooper), MSP-Hart post commander 1st Lt. Kevin Leavitt, MSP Inspector (and former Hart post commander) David Roesler, Trooper Dan Thomas, Trooper David Winter and MSP Sgt. Norma Naylor.

“I’m extremely overwhelmed,” Goodrich said. “I just wanted to go to work, do my job and come home at the end of the night. I made it a point to surround myself outside of work with good people with good values.”

Goodrich said after high school he worked for several factories around the state, until he got laid off. He said one night he ended up in a little bit of trouble at a local drinking establishment when one of the state troopers who responded suggested that the young man should become a state trooper. He said the next day he went to the Manistee State Police post and talked to the lieutenant there who gave him an application. He graduated from the 103rd Michigan State Police Academy. Some of his fellow graduates, including Leavitt, were in attendance.

Goodrich spent the last year of his career teaching at the 123rd and 124th academies in Lansing. Some of those recently graduated troopers were present Saturday and also praised their teacher.

Goodrich was the first state police trooper assigned to base out of the sub-post located at the Pere Marquette Township Fire Station. “I spent my whole career working toward that goal, to be able to work close to home like that. I appreciated the trust that was put into me by my commander.”

But, Goodrich said most of all, he appreciated the support over the years from his wife, Susan.

“Without Suzie, I would not have been the trooper I was,” he said. “For 25 years I have been a cowboy, saving the damsel in distress and putting the bad guys in jail. I’ve had a ball and have done my best to keep this community, state and country safe. But, I couldn’t have done it without Suzie. When other people are playing and sleeping, we in the law enforcement are working keeping the public out of danger. Many times our spouses have to go to events, holidays, family functions without us. Now, I’m going to be here for her. I am looking forward to, for the first time since before I was a trooper, to going to the beach on Fourth of July and watching the fireworks with my family. All these years I had to work traffic control. Now, that part of my life is done.”

Editor’s note: As a member of the local press, I come in contact with police officers, firefighters, EMTs and court officials on an almost daily basis. I also had the distinct honor to work with many of these men and women for many years when I served on area fire departments. All of these people deserve high accolades, but Dale Goodrich is top of the line. As many people said Saturday night, Dale treated people fairly and would rely on putting them in jail as a last resort. Thank you to all in those services for keeping us safe.

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