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Ryan Carter As Burbank Assistant Police Chief Bob...

December 21, 2002

Ryan Carter

As Burbank Assistant Police Chief Bob Heins cleaned out his

office, he came across relics that illustrate his long career -- a

series of nameplates reading "Capt. Heins," "Lt. Heins" and down the

line. As he packed, he had second thoughts about leaving a career he

carved for 45 years and five months.

"I'd rather still be working," he said. "But it's time."

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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 street.

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

dinner attire.

"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.

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