After helping to keep Dowagiac safe for its citizens for the past 40 years, Police Officer Jim Kusa may be looking forward to his first day of retirement Dec. 1, although there’s one last thing he’s been asked to do for his community - and he couldn't be happier.
Officer Kusa was selected by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce to serve as the Grand Marshal of next week’s Candle-light Christmas Parade.
“We are extremely pleased to honor Jim, who has dedicated his life to Dowagiac,” said Kim MacGregor of Edward Jones. MacGregor, serves as president of the Chamber of Commerce, which along with Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, are the hosts of the grand procession Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m.
“Officer Kusa was nominated for the honor by Police Chief Steve Grinnewald and his fellow officers, which illustrates their high regard for him,” MacGregor said.
“There are several qualities to being a good police officer such as honesty, integrity, compassion and strength,” said Chief Grinnewald. “Jim embodies all of these qualities in every aspect of his life. He lives his life with these principles in mind, whether he is speaking to a group of kids on career day, serving as a Cub Scout master, doing a CSI presentation or going camping with his son.”
“Jim’s commitment to his profession and community are second to none,” Grinnewald said. “Without a doubt, he is and has been one of the best officers on the Dowagiac Police Department. Jim is always willing to jump in and help out whenever we need him to. If anything, from time to time, we have to hold him back, when he tries to do too much.”
Grinnewald said his co-workers and the public always speak highly of him. “Jim is known for being an honest, hard-working officer, who does everything he can for his community. He has earned that reputation and the respect of his co-workers and community. He genuinely cares about the people he serves. He strives to do his best each and every day. The department will certainly miss him.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Officer Kusa moved to Dowagiac with his family in 1973 and has called Dowagiac home ever since. Having joined the department in 1974 as a reserve officer, he was hired full-time in 1977 and continues to proudly serve the community.
Officer Kusa has been the recipient of Lifesaving awards in 2013 and in 2017. In 2016, Rotary International in Dowagiac also honored Officer Kusa with the Paul Harris Fellow award. That same year he was chosen Dowagiac’s Police Officer of the Year.
As humble as he is honest, Officer Kusa said, “Working through the years as a police officer for the city has always been a very important part of my life. I will always remember the many fine people that I’ve met, who also call Dowagiac home.”