Plymouth police chief retiring after playing pivotal role in highlighting importance of officer mental health

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Plymouth’s police chief is set to retire at the end of this month.

Mike Goldstein served with the department for more than three decades but his service and impact stretched far beyond just the city limits of Plymouth.

Goldstein started out in the city’s first group of police explorers in 1984.

"I"ve had the opportunity to do so many wonderful things," Goldstein said.

Now, after 31 years with the Plymouth Police Department, Goldstein is retiring. Plenty looks different since he started, from the equipment to the technology and the way they communicate with the public on social media.

"If you don’t evolve with the changing times, you’re not going to have success," Goldstein said.

While a lot has changed in policing over three decades, perhaps one of the most significant differences is the focus on mental health, and Goldstein took that seriously. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four police officers has or will have thoughts of suicide.

Plymouth police chief to retire in late January

"We die younger than most of the rest of the population," Goldstein said.

That’s why he took action. It started with voluntary check-ins between his officers and a mental health professional. But it wasn’t until back-to-back officer-involved shootings that he realized he had to do more.

"After I saw the impact of these two high-profile incidents, I mandated the visits, which was a first that I know of, at least in our state," Goldstein said.

Goldstein helped pioneer "Check Up From the Neck Up", a mandated mental health check-in for first responders. Plus, he oversaw the development of a mental health evaluation team within the department, providing an on staff social worker and increased crisis intervention training.

"It’s becoming the norm, it’s far more accepted," Goldstein said. "The stigma has been greatly reduced. And other departments not just throughout the state but across the country are adopting similar practices, so we’re very proud of that."

But he’s not done yet. Goldstein started an organization that helps other departments build sustainable wellness programs. So once his duties wrap up with the Plymouth Police Department on Jan. 29, he’ll have more opportunities to make a difference.

"I’m happy to know that I ushered in a new way of doing business," Goldstein said.

In honor of Goldstein’s work, Plymouth Crime and Fire Prevention Fund (PC&FPF) created the Mike Goldstein Health and Wellness Fun to help the city’s public safety department as it continues to expand its health and wellness program. The fund is starting out with $1,000 and PC&FPF is urging community members to make a tax-deductible donation to the new fund in honor of Goldstein’s public service.

Eric Fadden, a 16-year veteran of the force, will take over as the city’s public safety director.