Szymanski 'Humbled' to Be Chosen as Lansing's First Female Police Chief

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

"She is tough, fair, innovative, and takes a no-nonsense approach that Lansing residents expect and deserve," said Mayor Virg Bernero.

The mayor's pick for Lansing Police Chief is no stranger to the department. In fact, she's been with the force for 23 years.

"Everything from personnel issues to financial issues to crime issues, you name it, a little bit of everything has came my way," said Chief of Police Teresa Szymanski.

She says her ten months of experience handling those issues as interim chief set her apart from LPD Captains Ray Hall and Mike Yankowski. It was a tough but clear choice, says Bernero.

"In the end, she's the one for the job, she's got the calm, steady, professional hand in these tough times that we need," he said.

Chief Szymanski doesn't have to worry about moving into a new office or ordering business cards. That was all taken care of when she took over as interim chief. Now she says she can just hit the ground running.

"The first priority is the budget," she said.

"This is our most difficult budget yet," said Bernero.

To help balance it, some city council members have suggested combining the LPD's North and South precincts. Szymanski says it's a great idea, but she has to look at all options. In the meantime, she's honored to be Lansing's first female police chief.

"It's very humbling," she said. "I'm looked at as a role model, the expectations are high, and I look forward to them."

We asked her how she plans to address crime in Lansing.

"It's all about partnerships," she said. "We need to increase our neighborhood watch. We need to increase our business watch. The community is the eyes and ears. They support us. They help us. They give us information," she said.

Szymanski says she intends to stay with the LPD for the rest of her career. It's home, she says, and there's nowhere she'd rather be.


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