Sergeant Dave VanDyke to Retire from MPPD

Sergeant Dave VanDyke will be retiring on January 21, after more than 26 years of service to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department (MPPD). A graduate of the Delta Police Academy, Dave initially joined the city as a seasonal park ranger before being hired as a full-time police officer. He later served as Public Information Officer (PIO) interfacing with both the community and media. VanDyke was ultimately promoted to Sergeant, following in the footsteps of his father, Sergeant Wayne VanDyke who retired from the MPPD in 1991.

VanDyke was heavily involved in the MPPD’s training programs, serving as both a firearms and defensive tactics instructor. He was a crime scene investigator for 25 years, an evidence technician, and was a member of the Traffic Enforcement Team and a team leader on the Emergency Services Team, on which he served for 22 years.

Reflecting on his career with the MPPD, VanDyke observed, “I have had a multitude of memorable moments, many of which were tragic high-profile cases. But the one constant was the dedication and extreme effort put forth by members of the MPPD.” He continued, “It is a challenging job, but being part of our committed public safety team was very rewarding. I look forward to our new recruits being able to experience this same feeling of camaraderie.”

“During his impressive tenure with the MPPD, Dave has remained steadfast in his service to law enforcement and our community, Director Paul Lauria recalled. “Throughout his many special assignments and at times, tragic cases, Dave exhibited both compassion and an unwavering drive to solve a case.” Lauria added, “Dave continuously valued the importance of training. He served as a respected firearms and defensive tactics instructor to help refine the skills of our officers. This, along with Dave’s tireless service on our Emergency Services Team, were vital assets to our department. His expertise and commitment will certainly be missed.”

In retirement, VanDyke will pursue another position where he can continue to serve his community.

Lieutenant Sytsema Retires After 26 Years; Sergeant Bliss Promoted

Lieutenant Don Sytsema will be retiring on October 8, after more than 26 years of service to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department (MPPD). Don began his career as an Officer, advanced to Detective in 2012, and was promoted to Lieutenant in 2017.

Lieutenant Don Sytsema

During his tenure, Don served as the Youth Services Unit officer, field training officer, evidence technician and forensic interviewer where he would interview children who were victims of physical abuse and sexual assault. Don also supervised the field training unit, road patrol, detective bureau and public information function.

Reflecting on his career with the MPPD, Don observed, “My fondest memory is not an isolated incident, time or place. Rather, it is more than 26 years of working together as a team and accomplishing a shared vision, goal and mission. That is what resonates with me most.”

Sergeant Brandon Bliss has been promoted to Lieutenant and will assume his new duties upon Don Sytsema’s retirement in early October.

Sergeant Brandon Bliss

Brandon possesses more than 16 years of law enforcement experience, with 13 of these years with the MPPD. During his time with the MPPD, Brandon has served as Youth Services Unit Officer, team leader for the Emergency Services Team, lead Sergeant for the Field Training Program and held union leadership roles with the Police Officers Association of Michigan and the Command Officers Association of Michigan.

Brandon obtained a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saginaw Valley State University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. Throughout his career he has also completed Michigan State University’s First Line Supervision Program as well as attending various other supervisory and leadership schools.