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Bend police bridge to the community retiring

By Joe Burns
Published On: May 19 2013 10:19:15 PM CDT

Steve Esselstyn retires after 12 years serving with the Bend Police Department as its community liaison and events coordinator.

BEND, Ore. -

One of those not at the U.S. Bank Pole Pedal Paddle this year was long-time Bend Police Community Liaison Steve Esselstyn.

Esselstyn has served in the public safety communications career for more than 35 years, but he's retiring after serving 12 of those years with the Bend Police Department.

"He's the guy who shows up wherever you need him," said Bend Police Lt. Chris Carney.

When you think about the major events in Bend, from races like the Pole Pedal Paddle and St. Patrick's Day Dash to the parades on Christmas and the Fourth of July, it might be impossible to not think about Esselstyn.

"Steve's the guy you probably never noticed, because he's in the background," Carney said. "He's the guy making sure that everything is done -- and will refuse to take any credit for anything he does."

Esselsytn has spent more than a decade making sure events in Bend go well. He's the guy who puts the volunteers, reserves and police officers wherever they need to be, to make sure the event goes off seamlessly.

"You cant replace Steve," Carney said. "He does too much, he gives too much of himself to the community, to our department."

Esselstyn's job has served as a bridge between the public and the police department.

"We help the sponsors find resources," Esselstyn said. "We kind of annoy people by closing down the streets and barricades, but it's to help the community become a little bit more livable and more enjoyable, without getting a lot of officers involved -- and it saves them a lot of money."

Last year, the volunteer program, which he helped start, saved the city and the department nearly $168,000, to do work that the officers didn't have to do, like dealing with abandoned vehicles and disabled parking.

"I think the best thing is just the incredible amount of support you get from the officers, from the command staff, from the records people," Esselstyn said. "It's just a pleasant place for people to work. I have never had a day when I got up and said I didn't want to be here."

While the department will fill his position, they don't know if they will ever find another Steve Esselstyn.

"The only funny thing is the guy is too humble," Carney said. "Every time I try to give him kudos for how wonderful he truly is, he just refuses to accept that. And he plays that off as, it takes a team. He's right -- it does. However, it takes somebody with Steve's personality to make sure that our community is as great as it is."

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