By Megan Decker
VASSAR — After 33 years of serving the Vassar community, police chief David Manier will get behind the wheel of his patrol car for one final time on Friday.
Manier, originally from Jackson, moved to Vassar in 1976 while he was working as an electrician in Carrollton for the Michigan Sugar Company.
He began working as a reserve police officer three years later, when he met former chief John Horwath, and began his career as a part-time officer in 1982. He joined the Flint Police Academy program that same year and graduated in May of 1982. In 1989, Manier took a position as a full-time officer.
“It was my childhood dream to become a police officer and chief of police,” Manier said. “My neighbor in Jackson was the chief of police. He was my inspiration.”
In an article published in the Feb. 27, 2002 edition of the Vassar Pioneer Times, Manier said the following of becoming an officer in Vassar:
“I’d wanted to be a police officer for so long and I figured I’d never have the opportunity because when I was actively seeking police work it was during an era when equalization in the work environment was a strong issue for minorities and females. They were the prime hiring prospects, especially in law enforcement. So my opportunities dwindled quite rapidly in several agencies where I had attempted to gain employment. I ended up going to electrical school and became an electrician. When I finally was able to go and become certified, it was one of the best days of my life. I was ecstatic about doing a job in the community I had looked forward to for so long.”
In 2001, the second part of Manier’s dream became reality when he was appointed as the interim chief of police following Horwath’s retirement. He was officially appointed as the chief the following year.
“I would formally like to thank the citizens of Vassar for allowing me to serve them,” Manier said. “The city hall staff and community have been a great support. This was not an easy decision to make.
“I truly enjoyed the experience and my friends in the city of Vassar. I have also been fortunate in my career to meet and become friends with other police chiefs across the state.”
Manier said that one of the highlights of his career is the memory of chasing an emu around the city limits for approximately three hours shortly after taking over as police chief in March 2003.
“It was the goofiest day,” he said. “Earlier that day, I got a call about an opossum that wouldn’t let people into their house and shortly after I took care of that I got the call over the radio about the emu.
“It was the stupidest day working as the chief of police,” he added with a chuckle.
Over his 33 career, Manier said some of the most significant changes in the police field have included technology and equipment upgrades, such as in-car computers and cameras and TASER guns, among many others.
“I often joke that by the year 2020, officers will need bandoliers to carry their equipment (because there won’t be room around the waist),” he said.
During the June 5 Vassar City Council Meeting, Manier received several accolades from the state of Michigan and city of Vassar.
Manier was presented with a Congressional certificate and letter from the state of Michigan and a certificate of recognition from the city of Vassar as well as an American flag that was flown over Lansing on May 24.
“Those are keepsakes that I will have with me for the rest of my life,” Manier said. “That really meant a lot to me.”
In his retirement, Manier plans to accept a few part-time positions around the area.
“I plan to get a few part-time jobs and be useful in other employment,” Manier explained. “I wish the best of luck to whoever precedes me. We have a good staff of officers in Vassar and a well-equipped department.”
By Megan Decker