The Milford Police Department held a retirement lunch on Tuesday, July 23 in downtown Milford for Lieutenant Steve Rust. During his 27 year career Lieutenant Rust held a variety of positions and was instrumental in starting several policing initiatives including the citizens police academy, National Night Out, Seasonal Police Officer Program, Bike Patrol and Motorcycle Unit.
Born in Milford in 1963, Stephen was the third child of William “Harvey” and Doris (Van Vorst) Rust. He married Cindy Bell in 1983, and his son, Stephen was born 9 months later. Cindy and Steve had two more children and the couple is celebrating their 30 year wedding anniversary this year.
Steve Rust began his 27-plus year career when he was hired in 1985. Recognized for his dedication, experience and strong leadership skills, Lieutenant Rust was promoted to Private First Class in 1987 and was subsequently promoted through the ranks to corporal, sergeant and ultimately to the role of Operations Lieutenant. He constantly strove to increase his skills and knowledge through education, attending the FBI National Academy and graduating in September 2004. Lieutenant Rust assisted in the enhancement of the department through his dedicated service to the Patrol Division, Selective Enforcement Unit, Accident Investigation Unit and DUI Task Force. He was in charge of the Fatal Accident team as he oversaw the investigation of a number of fatal accident investigations and was considered an expert witness in accident reconstruction, testifying in court on numerous occasions.
A police officer over three distinct decades, officer Rust has seen the town of Milford transform several times. Making the change from a private citizen to a police officer, Steve was surprised to see the level of drug and alcohol abuse that was present in the Milford community as he began. In the 90’s he worked on drug activity and remembers the days when Milford police responded weekly to situations at downtown bars including the Moonlight Grill, Zoo Bar and the Kent & Sussex Inn.
“When the stores like Grants and Penny’s closed in downtown, the area became desolate,” commented Lieutenant Rust. “When you see it now it is really a nice area. Milford is a nice, peaceful town because of the quality of the police force. They have the best trained and most highly-respected departments in the state.” As the city of MIlford changed again from the housing boom of the 2000’s, Lieutenant Rust believes that the overall influence from new residents have been positive.
Serving his last day on the force on Friday, July 26, Steve Rust states that he will miss the camaraderie between himself and his fellow officers but looks forward to spending more time with his family as he begins his new career as a Criminal Justice teacher at Sussex Tech High School.
“I kind of know what John Wayne felt like we he hung up his gun,” laughed Steve when asked about retiring from the Milford Police Department. “When I look back on all of the experiences I just hope I had an impact in this community during my service. Every officer has to deal with the good and the bad and we just try to make sense of it all as we deal with it professionally.”
Lieutenant Rust has earned numerous commendations and memberships of several organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the FBI National Academy Associates, Maryland/Delaware Chapter. His commitment to the Milford police force and the Milford community will continue to be recognized as he begins his new endeavors.
“Lieutenant Rust has earned the respect of his peers and colleagues, and with the support of family and friends, Lieutenant Rust has given selflessly and professionally to the City of Milford,” stated Milford Police Chief, Keith Hudson. “His contribution to the safety and well-being of our community will be recognized for years to come. He has sacrificed countless holidays at the expense of his family.”