Two New Sergeants

41M+1+JBA2LAt the end of last month, two of our long time sergeants retired:  Michael O’Hala and Steve Groehn.  Those retirements created 2 vacancies in our sergeant ranks that we have now filled.  On Nov 1st Bryan Eftink was promoted to sergeant and on November 29th, Brandon Hollenbeck was promoted to sergeant.

Becoming a sergeant is a challenge here–by design.  Candidates must pass a written test to demonstrate their technical knowledge of the law, police practices, department general orders, a whole variety of need-to-know things for a first line police supervisor.  If they are successful in passing, they must then participate in a series of “exercises” in which the candidates must complete a replication of the actual job.  Their efforts are rated by a panel of experienced police of higher rank.  Assessment centers were developed in the military to assess people for promotion. The exercises are things like counseling or evaluating a police officer who is not performing up to expected standards (no ticket quotas–but we do expect police officers to work all day, every day).   We also ask them to show us how they would handle a complaint from a citizen.  We even hire actors to portray an upset citizen wanting to make a complaint against an officer.  A sergeant must be skillful in addressing the citizen’s concern in a fair and respectful manner; investigating the situation while also respecting the officer’s rights then recommend a solution that protects the integrity of our department and maintains the trust of the community.  It is a critical skill.  Those are two examples of what they must demonstrate.  We are not civil service so there is no requirement to take people in some sort of queue.  We evaluate their work history and their abilities as we’ve seen them on the job.  Ultimately we make a recommendation to the City Manager.

It is intended to be difficult and shouldn’t it be?  Police are often confronted with difficult decisions.  Sergeants have an even higher set of expectations.  They walk a fine line between officers, the community, lieutenants and the Chief’s Office.  It is a great job but one that requires people skills and technical skills.

The challenges of a sergeant are many so we make a thorough and careful decision before before we put them in charge.

I’d like to introduce you to each of them:

Bryan's wife Laura pins on his badge.
Bryan’s wife Laura pins on his badge.

Sgt. Bryan Eftink – Bryan is a graduate of Montabella High School, which is in the small central Michigan town of Edmore. While still in high school, and at the age of 17, Bryan joined the Michigan Army National Guard and graduated Army basic training and advanced infantry training at Fort Benning, GA.  Bryan served 6 years in the Michigan Army National Guard where he achieved the rank of Sergeant.   After high school, he attended Grand Valley State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice and had a minor in Sociology.  Bryan also attended the Grand Valley State University Police Academy where he served as the Recruit Commander and earned the MCOLES award at graduation.

Bryan began his employment with the Auburn Hills Police Department on September 10, 2012. During his time in the agency he has been a member of patrol and served three years in the Directed Patrol Unit.  Bryan has several extra duties with the department that include being an Evidence Technician, Forensic Video Analyst, Small Squad Tactics Instructor, and he is also the department’s only Accident Reconstructionist. Bryan is also a proud member of the Police Department’s Honor Guard.   Bryan represents the police department outside the agency as well, as he is an instructor at Oakland Community College’s Police Academy.

Outside of work, Bryan enjoys all sports especially MICHIGAN Football and Basketball. Go Blue! He also enjoys spending time with his friends and family, especially with his wife, Laura, and their 4 ½ month old son.

Sgt. Brandon Hollenbeck – Brandon is from Frankfort, a small northern Michigan town, where he graduated from Frankfort High

Sgt Hollenbeck takes his oath of office
Sgt Hollenbeck takes his oath of office
Sgt Hollenbeck’s wife Kristen pins on his badge.

School.  Brandon began his career in public safety while he was in high school as a member of the Frankfort Fire Department. He proudly served as a volunteer firefighter for his father who was the long time fire chief in Frankfort.  During the time he was a firefighter, he was recognized by the City of Frankfort for saving the life of a 13 year old boy who was drowning in rough waters of Lake Michigan.  Brandon also served for the Benzie County Sheriff’s Department as a seasonal marine deputy for four summers.

He graduated from Northwestern Michigan Community College earning an associate’s degree in applied science/law enforcement.  Brandon also completed the Northwestern Michigan College Police Academy and was recognized with the marksmanship award in his academy class.  Brandon is currently completing his bachelor’s degree at Central Michigan University and will graduate in 2015 with a public administration degree.

Brandon began his employment with the City of Auburn Hills on May 30th 2002.  Brandon is assigned as a patrol officer has served in special assignments:  retail district and Directed Patrol Unit.  He was also in Investigations Division as the court liaison officer.  Brandon is a senior member of the use of force instructor cadre where he holds instructor certifications in firearms, patrol rifle, Taser, controlled force, pepper spray, handcuffing, force on force Simunitions, and rapid deployment to active shooter situations in progress.  Brandon is also a rescue task force instructor for our agency in which he has trained members of the police department and the fire department in rescue tactics for force protected active shooter rescues.  Brandon is Field Training Officer for new officers as well as the a bike patrol officer.  Brandon completed the Michigan State Police basic fire investigation program as a cause and origin fire investigator.  He represents our police department outside of the agency as an Oakland County Tactical Response (OakTac) Instructor training members of law enforcement agencies throughout Oakland County.  Brandon is the recipient of a department citation, an individual commendation, 2 safe driving commendations, and 14 unit commendations, as well as several letters of recognition.  This year Brandon was nominated as by the Department for the City’s Employee of the Year award.

Outside of work Brandon is a dedicated husband and father and enjoys nothing more than spending time with his wife Kristen and their three children.  Brandon also enjoys doing anything on the water (especially fishing with his brother), hunting (with his pop), and spending time up north with his family and friends.  Brandon is also one of those “crazy” die hard Detroit Lions fans.

If you see them out and about be sure to stop them and say HI.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.