Ontwa Twp.-Edwardsburg police chief moving north for new job
After nearly three years on the job, Ontwa Township-Edwardsburg Police Chief Tim Kozal is preparing to leave to start a new chapter.
“I think that you always have to try to be looking at what you’re doing every day, and trying to do something better tomorrow for the community and for the department,” said Kozal.
He likes staying motivated – and his tenure in Michiana is proof of it.
His department’s vehicles have been upgraded since he first started in November 2014.
Parts of the station on Main Street in Edwardsburg have been renovated, including a new evidence room.
Kozal’s officers are more involved with the local schools.
And the department now has a safe exchange program at its doorstep.
“I’m most proud of building the relationships within this department,” said Kozal.
That’s why the idea of leaving Edwardsburg for a new job weighed on him heavily.
“[I] had to overnight the resume in because, you know, I just didn’t know for certain,” he said.
But now, it is certain.
Kozal will soon become the director of public safety up in Manistee, Michigan – about three hours north of Edwardsburg.
“I just like that opportunity to be able to tackle both elements of public safety,” he said.
Kozal spent 23 years with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety before coming to Michiana, so he likes both policing and firefighting.
But his absence will be felt in Edwardsburg.
“He was kind of a friendly warrior,” said Victor Fitz, the Cass County prosecutor. “He had a smile on his face, but he was determined to get the job done. And he did.”
Fitz worked closely with Kozal throughout the last two and a half years, specifically on two years-old cold cases the chief helped resurrect.
An armed robbery suspect was sentenced last December for a crime he committed in Edwardsburg in 2006.
And Raymond Richmond is set to stand trial next month for the 1977 murder of his cousin, Robert Stasiak, whose death was originally ruled a suicide.
“I think that every victim needs to have their case looked at and closed,” said Kozal.
The chief said he will stay in Michiana for the entirety of the murder trial, which starts on April 11.
Once it’s completed, he and his family will move up to Manistee.
Kozal said he’s proud to say his department has written more search warrants and done more investigations in the last two years than ever before.
Village and township officials are beginning to search for his replacement.