LANSING | Mike Manno is the new guy on the Village Board, having been sworn in last month after being elected to a trustee position in the April municipal elections.
Yet he’s far from being a new guy in Lansing. The 39-year veteran of the Lansing Police Department was honored by his new Village Board colleagues on Tuesday for the contributions he made during his local law enforcement career.
Manno has been connected to the Police Department since 1974 when he moved from the Public Works Department to the Police Department in a part-time capacity. Later, he became full-time, and officially retired from those duties back in 2002.
But Manno made a career out of being the police officer in charge of programs that dealt with young people and who worked with the local schools to urge students not to get involved with illicit drugs or any criminal activity.
When he retired 11 years ago, he was asked to stay on in a part-time capacity running drug-awareness programs operating throughout the years under acronyms such as GREAT, DARE and DANGER.
Manno said he was grateful village officials, including current Village President Norm Abbott, never cut funding for those programs, “even through times of tight budgets,” Manno said.
It was Manno’s election this year to a four-year term on the Village Board that made him submit a resignation letter from his part-time role, one which Police Chief Dennis Murrin said he “reluctantly accepted.”
But as Manno puts it, he has to give up his police duties because, “You can’t do everything.”
In honoring Manno, Murrin presented him with a plaque, while officials from Lansing School District 158, Sunnybrook School District 171 and from the Lansing Christian parochial school all presented him with banners or cards made by students with whom Manno has worked in recent years.
Abbott said he has become aware of Manno’s influence every time he attends a graduation ceremony at a local school.
“The reaction he gets is astounding, they love Mike,” Abbott said.
Manno said he found working with children to be more enjoyable than the other parts of working in law enforcement.
“That’s the part I’ll miss, dealing with the kids,” he said, adding that in his role, he tried to present an image of police officers as people who help them.
“Some kids might otherwise just think that the police are there to harass people,” Manno said. “I tried to give a more human face to the police.”
Village Administrator J. Wynsma said that is Manno’s most significant contribution to Lansing.
“He left a positive imprint on a lot of our youth,” Wynsma said.
While Murrin said, “Mike Manno is the face of the Police Department to our kids.”