An Invitation To Know Your Neighbors
READY TO GO: This is a pose quite familiar to Patrolman Walter DeDula as he prepares to leave Ann Arbor police headquarters on his motorcycle for another day of traffic duty.
"I like to help people. Sometimes in my work you can do that. And when you can lend a hand where it’s needed, it makes you feel good.”
This philosophy has guided Patrolman Walter DeDul through a 12-year career with the Ann Arbor Police Department.
Officer DeDula speaks and writes two foreign languages, raises roses and evergreen trees for a hobby and is a “cop” because he “always wanted to be one.”
Born in Detroit but reared in Ann Arbor, he was on elf the first area men to enter the U.S. Army under Selective Service in 194. His training with Army ski troops ended when he broke his leg in 1941 and he was transferred to military police duty. While on duty in 1945 he served in a detachment of American troops assigned to guard Gen. Dwight Eisenhower during a six-day visit to Chicago.
He was discharged in 1946 and joined the Ann Arbor Police Department. In his decade-plus of service here, Patrolman DeDula has handled just about every duty demanded of a police officer and some duties which aren’t.
A number of years ago, he had occasion to be thankful that his wife, the former Gloria P. Smith, is a registered nurse. While on a midnight shift he and another officer were called to a local residence where a woman was about to give birth to a baby. When it was obvious the woman could not be moved, DeDula grabbed the telephone in the house and called his wife, who was on duty at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Following directions given by Mrs. DeDula, the two officers successfully delivered a seven-pound baby girl.
On another occasion several years ago, he made a "hard" arrest. It was just before midnight on a Christmas Eve. DeDula was walking a beat when he came on a man wheeling two new children's bicycles down the street.
Realizing stores in the city had been closed for hours, he asked the man where he had purchased the bikes.
"I just bought them," the man said. "They're for my kids -- for Christmas, you know."
A check revealed the Store where the man said he had purchased them had been broken into. Two new bikes were gone.
Couldn’t Afford ’Em
“That was a hard arrest,” DeDula says. “The guy couldn’t afford the bikes. So he just took them.’
For the past two years Officer DeDula has been assigned to motorcycle patrol with the Traffic Division of the department. He has few complaints about this or any other work assignments. “As long as it's police work,” he says.
DeDula’s parents were both born in Ukrania and he speaks both Ukranian and Russian fluently.
Patrolman DeDula lives at 1125 Newport Rd. with his wife and their two children, Ann, 9, and Michael, 6. The ground around the DeDula house is embellished with a rich, green lawn, 25 patented rose bushes and more than 200 evergreen plants. All of this is part of the officer’s hobby. Like police work he does landscaping and planting “because I like it.” And, seeing the well-kept DeDula yard, you have to believe it. Just as you know that Walt DeDula likes police work when you see his friendly grin as he climbs on his three-wheeled “monster” for another day of traffic patrol.