On Dec. 30, Heins, 67, will turn in his badge and standard-issue
.40 caliber semiautomatic handgun, ending his career as the longest
tenured police officer in the city's history.
"It's to make room for the younger guys to get up and get trained
and get some experience, so when all the brass leave, there's
somebody to replace us," Heins said.
Heins, a Burbank native known as an old-school cop with a dry wit,
was hired fresh out of the Army in 1957.
"This has been my life," he said. "I've done basically nothing
else but police work all my life here in Burbank."
Heins said the key to his longevity is that he simply loved being
a police officer.
"I always knew that this was what I was going to do," he said,
adding that as a boy he looked up to a motor officer who patrolled
His file contains 17 letters of commendation, including foiling a
robbery in 1965 that led to the arrest of serial robbers.
Among his more memorable cases, Heins remembered a murder of a
husband and wife bookmaking team who ran a business out of their
Burbank home. Heins, who was a lieutenant at the time with a growing
family, ended up buying the home from the couple's father. He and his
wife of 47 years still live there.
As assistant chief, Heins is known for signing everything in green
ink. But he is also known for his blue-collar ethic.
"He'll pull out a vacuum and vacuum," said administrative
secretary Peggy Peters, who was hired by Heins 30 years ago. When the
time changes, he walks around to all the clocks and changes the
hands, she said.
Police Chief Tom Hoefel said with Heins will go a piece of
department history and devotion.
"This is a guy who lives, sleeps, eats and drinks police work,"
Hoefel said. "He is the epitome of the old-time police officer. He's
never 'off-duty.' "
Hoefel even remembered Heins showing up at a crime scene in formal
"It's that work ethic that he brings that hopefully people are
trying to emulate," Hoefel said.
Heins, who plans to visit regularly, will stay active in Boy
Scouts, Noon Kiwanis and traveling, as well as doing "whatever my
wife says," he said.
Capt. Larry Koch will step into the role of assistant chief,
although the title is being changed to deputy chief.