Lansing Police upgrade ballistic shields to honor former detective

Drew Goretzka | Spartan Newsroom | November 4, 2021

The Lansing Police Department will use a $13,114 donation from the second annual Ron Seyka Memorial Golf Outing and Modern Woodmen of America to upgrade the Special Tactics and Rescue Team’s ballistic shields.

The money will be used to upgrade the unit’s ballistic shields from Level IIIA to Level III— a change that will potentially protect officers from higher caliber bullets, according to a resolution adopted by City Council accepting the donation.

Ronald Seyka poses in his START team uniform in 2006. Seyka served on the team from 1996 to 2010, participating in 107 high-risk incidents. / Courtesy of Zachary Seyka

Those who knew Ronald Seyka say the donation is a way to continue his legacy. Seyka was with the department for 28 years, including 25 as a sworn officer. In that time he held myriad positions, including road patrol, undercover assignments and detective, said Chaz King, who helped organize the memorial golf outing.

Seyka was also a member of START, working in containment, entry and technical support roles. He served on the team from 1996 to 2010, participating in 107 high-risk incidents, according to the council resolution.

King said he knew Ronald Seyka for nearly King’s entire life, being childhood friends with Seyka’s son, Zachary. After Ronald Seyka died of cancer nearly a year and a half ago, the Seyka family and King organized the golf outing.

“(It was) kind of a celebration of life where we could get all the family and friends together and celebrate Ron and the person that he was,” King said.

Zachary Seyka said his dad loved to do two things in his free time: Throw parties and golf. To him and the rest of the family, the golf outing seemed like an easy decision.

“We thought that’d be pretty cool to have this big party,” Zachary Seyka said. “Do one of the things that he loved to do most, which is golf … and be able to raise money and give it back to the men and women that continue to serve today.”

Ronald Seyka responds to a call in the 1990’s. Seyka served in numerous positions in his career, including road patrol, undercover assignments and detective. / Courtesy of Zachary Seyka

This year’s golf outing, which took place June 18, was the second iteration of the event. Zachary Seyka said total donations this year were about $3,000 more than the inaugural outing.

The decision to donate to the police department’s START team came from his dad’s time there, Zachary Seyka said.

“That was that big reason, of course, in the fact that he was part of the START team,” Zachary Seyka said. “I think that was really the core reason. We’d love to give it to any part of the police department.”

In addition to the upgraded shields, the donation is being used to install a dolley system on a number of the shields, said police Sgt. Kevin Schlagel, a START member. This allows for more options when entering a dangerous situation, he said

While new equipment is essential for the START team, Schlagel said nothing replaces talented personnel such as Ronald Seyka.

“So to me, the right people are better than equipment, in my opinion, So the equipment’s just an add on,” Schlagel said. “Overall, Ron was a great asset, great detective to this department, but a great asset to the team.”

The new ballistic shields will have a new nickname attached to the money used to buy them — “The Ronny.”

“If I tell the guys, ‘Hey, go grab the Ronny,’ they know exactly what it is,” Schlagel said.