One of Greenwood’s Finest Men in Blue, Lieutenant Bob Dine, Retires After 41 Years
Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Photographer / Erin Feldmeyer
A guiding force on the Greenwood Police Department who came from a long legacy of law enforcement officers has hung up his hat. Lieutenant Bob Dine has retired from the Greenwood Police Department after 41 years of service in law enforcement, five of which he served as Greenwood’s Police Chief.
But just because Lieutenant Dine won’t be showing his face at work daily, don’t expect the police department to forget about the Dine family too quickly. Bob’s father was one of three officers with the Greenwood Police Department in the late fifties to mid-sixties. Bob’s brother Jeff was the Police Chief in Speedway, and the two became the only brothers to serve as Police Chief simultaneously. Bob passed his “blue” gene to his family. His oldest son is an officer with the Westfield Police Department, his youngest was on the Greenwood Police department, his middle son is a jailer for Johnson County and a nephew is with the Speedway Police.
That’s quite a legacy on its own, but you’ve got to reach back three more generations to find the first Dine in the Greenwood Police Department. Bob’s great-great-great Grandfather was a Town Marshall for the Greenwood Police Department in 1900, when Greenwood consisted of just three street corners, forming the intersection of Madison and Main Streets.
You might think Bob was ready to jump at the chance to join the force after college, given the family legacy. But instead, he attended Franklin College and majored in Physical Education, planning a career treating sports injuries for football and basketball teams. Until one night during his senior year, when an incident at his fraternity house changed it in an instant.
“The police came to the house to follow up on a complaint about loud music, and I was the delegate to handle such visits,” he says. “After handling the matter with the officer, I asked him if I could do a ride along. He said yes, we jumped in, and I loved it. I was hooked.”
Bob completed his training, and when it came time to extend a job offer to him, then Greenwood Mayor Larry Myers, came straight to the Dine home.
“That’s how the police department dealt with things back then, right in the family home,” he says. “So Mayor Myers offered me the job right in our living room in front of my parents. I told him I wanted to start immediately, and he told me I’d have to wait two weeks. So, two weeks later, I was sworn in and I never looked back.”
Bob earned his badge in 1977 and began his career being mentored by experienced officers like Sergeant Richard Bumps. He was given the opportunity to shadow other police departments, attend an FBI training course, assisted the secret service during a special dignitary visit and more.
“I’ve been so blessed to receive the training I had and participate in other law enforcement organizations,” he says. “I got to do a lot of things that a lot of people will never be able to do in their lifetime. I wouldn’t trade my career for the world. I wish Mayor Myers and Police Chief Ed Stephens were here today to see it.”
No one in the world would want to trade a career that included such exciting memories as being selected for the FBI National Academy in Quantico, being part of an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Task Force to infiltrate gangs on the city’s East side. But his favorite memories of his career included his relationships in the community, especially the kids.
Dine spent several years as a resource officer in Greenwood Schools. He got to know the kids at the school, earned their respect and their trust. He was often in a position to learn of pending trouble, and he was the most trusted person for a student to tell. He recalls leveraging that position to intervene and prevent a fight over a stolen guitar.
“I always treated the kids with respect,” he says. “I understand how hard it is for some kids living in a one parent home. In many ways, I hope I taught them that cops are human too, and we have our good days and bad days. I’ll really miss the high fives from the kids. But I hope that in some way, through those relationships, I’ve instilled some hope and positivity in at least some of them.”
Dine has seen a lot of changes in Greenwood over the years.
“There’s a lot more cultural diversity these days, and we’re doing our best to overcome language barriers,” Dine says. “We also see mental health issues a lot more.”
Besides changes in the community, much has changed within the police department as well. Technology has played a significant role in that. Along with the changes, Lt. Dine warns about some key things he hopes will never change.
“The younger, newer officers love the technology,” he says. “But I warn them they’ve got to get off the computer and get out and talk to these people. If you talk to them, they’ll trust you to help them.”
“As a police chief, I wanted to be sure the drug dealers were put in jail and keep the schools safe,” he says. “Being a cop is a lot like being in a chair, looking out the window to the world. It feels good to put the right ones behind bars.”
The state of school safety has changed dramatically over the years and weighs heavy on Dine’s mind these days since he spent so much time in the schools.
“Times have changed so much, but if it’s going to get better, it’s going to take a whole community to change things,” he says. “The schools and the police department can’t solve every problem. We have to change attitudes, be supportive of teachers, be supportive of the entire community and be involved in your kids’ lives. It’s a team effort. To succeed, we’ve got to be the best we can be together and be at the top of our game before something happens. Above all, we have to remember the most important things are faith and family. We have to remember to encourage and love our kids and give them hope. Without it, there’s nothing.”
Now that Dine has closed the door on his long and storied law enforcement career, it’s hard to imagine him not being in on the action.
“I’m going to take some much needed time off, but I’ll still get around and see people in the community,” he says. “I’ve seen people being born, and I’ve seen people die. That connection will be with me forever.”
Congratulations, Lt. Dine on your retirement. Thank you for your dedicated service in keeping the streets of Greenwood safe.