Capt. Seranko will soon retire from Greensburg police
Next month, Greensburg police Capt. George Seranko will exchange his handgun for power tools.
Seranko, 57, a 26-year veteran of the city police force, will retire June 7.
“I'm looking forward to being with my family, my grandkids, going camping and working around the house,” Seranko said.
He began working as a patrolman in 1987 and then was promoted to sergeant before being selected captain in 1998.
He dispatched police calls for about eight years before moving to a patrol unit.
“I liked to think I helped people, and I liked working with the guys,” Seranko said.
He plans on devoting more time to his hobbies in retirement, including model trains. Seranko has long loved trains — real and model.
“I just liked them since I was a child,” he said. “My mom and dad got me one, and I've just liked them ever since.”
In his family room, Lionel trains circle on shelves Seranko made and positioned near the ceiling. He plans on putting up six or seven model trains in his attic when he no longer has to keep a daily work schedule.
He further wants to focus on making more craft items in his home workshop. He has made kitchen tables and lawn nativity scenes, among other items.
“That might be something I do once I get back in there,” Seranko said. “I'd like to make stuff and do maybe three or four (craft) shows a year.”
In June, Seranko will celebrate another milestone. He and his wife, Brenda, will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.
“She's my best friend,” he said. “She helped me to relieve a lot of the stress through talking.
“If it wasn't for her and the kids I probably wouldn't be in this position,” he added.
Like all jobs, police work has its good and bad sides.
Seranko said he most disliked the varying shift hours he had to cover while working on patrol. Officers change shifts every four weeks. “By the time your body adjusted to those shifts, you're going on a different shift,” Seranko said.
He called domestic arguments the worst calls officers handle regularly.
“There's so many unknowns until you get there,” Seranko said.
But officers form bonds because of those calls and others like them, he said.
“When you're on patrol, when you're working with someone, that's the person who's going to back you up and you back them up,” Seranko said.
At times on domestic argument calls, he had the arguing parties turn on him, Seranko said.
“It happens to all officers, I would think, one time or another,” Seranko said.
Staying calm in police work is important, he added.
As captain, he regularly appeared on television talking about significant crimes that occurred in Greensburg.
He said he enjoyed dealing with the reporters but was less fond of being on camera. He politely declined having a photograph taken for this story.
“I enjoyed all the reporters, and talking to them. Being in front of the camera wasn't my favorite thing to do. But I met a lot of nice people through that position,” Seranko said.
“I would have liked to tell more good stories than bad. ... Being a police officer, you probably deal more with the bad than the good,” he said. “But I think there were bad stories that good things came out of them.”
Officers responding with an Automatic External Defibrillator, or AED, and saving a life is a good story coming from a bad one, he said.
He has also strived to do good for others.
In 2006 and 2007, Seranko used vacation time to go on a church mission to help rebuild homes in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
“Through our beliefs, our family's beliefs, our religion, we just wanted to help somebody who needed help,” Seranko said. “We hope if we're in that situation, someone would help us.”
He will spend the next few days training his successor, Chad Zucco.
Seranko said he would have two pieces of advice for Zucco, a 15-year veteran of the department, if asked.
“I guess they would be, think things through before you react to something, and listen to the men and women,” Seranko said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.