Walled Lake police officer Paul Schneider earned his stripes over the 32 years he served the community.
He closed the door quietly behind him on June 30 when he retired from active duty, but Walled Lake residents will likely see him around the community, since he recently volunteered his services as an auxiliary police officer.
Schneider joined the Walled Lake Police Department in March 1980. When he came on board, the department had a contingency of nine officers that grew to as many as 15 during his career in the city. By the time he retired, that number had tapered back to nine officers.
“The officers are under new contract and times are hard right now,” he said. “I was maxed out at full retirement and the chief asked me if I could retire in June to help out the department because of staffing cuts and layoffs.”
Schneider began his tenure as a patrol officer, served 10 years in the Detective Bureau and transferred to road patrol just before he took his leave.
“Detective work is the hardest — it never ends,” he said. “You take it home with you and the cases take forever. Typically, you’re there between three to five years. I served two tours.”
Walled Lake Police Chief Paul Shakinas, who worked with Schneider for a decade, said Schneider came to work everyday brimming with enthusiasm.
“He was always a go-getter,” Shakinas said. “He was as excited about police work his last day as the first day I met him.”
Schneider would always pitch in where needed; no task was below him regardless of his seniority on the force.
“Any officer dreams of arresting a robber, murders or rapist. I feel I accomplished a lot and arrested a lot of people,” he said.
For example, Schneider was partly responsible for apprehending the suspect who robbed Barrels of Wine twice during a five-year period. The second time, the suspect held the store owner at knife point. Police staked out the suspect’s home, where gunfire was exchanged and the suspect was ultimately shot and killed.
“During his 30-plus years with department, he’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” Shakinas said.
Schneider earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and served two years as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army. Plus, he’s a die-hard Walled Lake resident.
“A lot of officers want to go to bigger departments, but our department is like a big family,” he said. “Bigger is not always better.”