A Commitment to Service

Twenty-four years in law enforcement can seem like a lifetime to some. For Officer Thomas Mrozinski, it might just be a blip on the radar when he talks about the history of law enforcement in his family. Both of his parents were in law enforcement and he can trace a great-grandfather who was killed in the line of duty back in the 1930s. “It is a family business, if you will,” he shares.

Officer Mrozinski joined the U.S. Army right out of high school and is a Gulf War veteran. When he left the U.S. Army, he was not sure what he wanted to do next, so he started serving in law enforcement in the reserves. “We do the same jobs a regular officer does, we just do not get paid,” he says. After two years of reserves, he decided it was the career he was looking for. He has been giving it his all ever since.

Officer Mrozinski came to the Frisco Police Department from the Collin County Sherriff’s Department, where he served for seven years and got involved with commercial vehicle enforcement. He joined the Frisco Police Department to get more involved with safety inspections and other related responsibilities, in addition to the commercial vehicle enforcement in the traffic department. “Frisco has a motor carrier safety assistance program through the Texas DPS,” he says. The Texas DPS, in turn, gets its funding through the federal government. “We are able to do commercial vehicle inspections just like DPS or any other certified agency.” Roughly translated, that means part of Officer Mrozinski’s job is to perform safety inspections on tractor trailers. He measures brakes, tires, inspects log books and more.

Officer Mrozinski created a Frisco commercial vehicle enforcement program in 2005 and targeted Frisco because of the projected growth. When joining the Frisco Police Department, he started with a rotation of about eight months in patrol and then moved over to the traffic department, where he is currently assigned. That is when he started putting proposals together to get funding for equipment, developing training and presenting his work to the chain of command through the police department. Then, it went to city council for approval to ultimately create this agency. “We operate on what is called a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ through the State of Texas, and we started that in 2008,” Officer Mrozinski adds.

Initially, the program started with two officers — Officer Mrozinski and his sergeant at the time. Today, the program has grown to seven certified officers total.

His day-to-day responsibilities include traffic law enforcement. He and his team patrol areas based on high traffic, crash rates or citizen complaints. They have tips that come in through services, dispatch or the city website. Someone from Officer Mrozinski’s group will go to the area to determine first if there is a problem and work the problem area if needed, with the goal of not tying up patrol units to work those areas. The group also works on almost all the serious injury crashes in Frisco, and four members of the group are fatality reconstructionists. “We gather all the evidence, put a case together and present it to the district attorneys,” he says.

If you have ever wondered how an officer in the traffic department determines if speeding is a real issue in an area, there are a couple of ways they go about it. First, they literally count the cars. “If we monitor an area and 300 cars come through in a matter of 30 to 45 minutes and 40 were speeding, we look at the percentage and it depends on the speed to determine the answer,” Officer Mrozinski says. He adds that they also pull drivers over for speeding when they are conducting this research. They also use the city engineering department to use traffic cameras in certain areas. They even have their own “covert” radar and traffic counters to deploy and gather data remotely. “We can either validate the concern the citizen had and go out and address it or let them know we have been out, here is the data and there is really not a problem,” he says.

Officer Mrozinski has been involved with many aspects of the police department throughout his career. He has a good schedule these days with his tenure on the force, but he is on call for traffic accidents, as well as being part of the rifle containment unit, which works with SWAT. He is not part of the entry team anymore, but still supports it through the rifle team around any situation they are called in for. He also serves as a firearms instructor and served as a driving instructor for several years.

Because of this vast experience, Officer Mrozinski can share what he feels has made the most impact. When he was with the Collin County Sheriff’s Department, he worked to serve many drug warrants as well as high-risk arrest warrants. He also says he enjoys working on the accident investigations. “I do not enjoy that it is a fatality, but they are challenging, there is a lot of work that goes into it. It is not just a quick look into what happened. We have to go back and do all the math to figure out how fast they were going and things like that. I pride myself in doing this, take the fatality part out of it, because it is not something just anyone can do,” he says. “I worked my first fatality in August 1993, and I can still describe it to you today.” He feels the work makes a difference and can go a long way to either prevent similar accidents from happening again or giving affected families peace, being able to verify exactly what happened.

Outside of his work, Officer Mrozinski has been married to his wife for 21 years. They have a 19-year-old son and he has two step-daughters he helped raise. He also has two grandchildren — one girl and one boy, and both will be three at different times later this year. “Outside of work, I spend every hour I can with them,” he says. He and his wife are very involved with their church — she sings on the praise team and he does audio/visual. They are both fond of exercising and Officer Mrozinski is an avid hunter.

Officer Mrozinski grew up in the Sherman area and even has two small town city council terms under his belt. He served in Howe, Texas, where he also started his law enforcement career. He says, “I just wanted to make a difference. I not only worked there, but I lived there for almost 20 years.” He says in a small town they do not face the magnitude of budgets one might face in a larger town, but the same budget issues still exist. He believes the public safety background helped because when the chief was asking for funding, he knew firsthand what needed to be done to make the project successful. He also could explain it to other council members who might not have understood it otherwise. It was difficult when dealing with employees. If someone was terminated and they brought it before the council, it was tough. Especially if he was friends with them, as he had to stay impartial.

This police officer plans on staying in traffic with Frisco Police Department. He has recently been tasked with putting together a fitness policy for the department. He also wrote a grant that was approved for funding new equipment for the traffic department. In 2015, he was selected as a Specialized Unit Officer of the Year. In 2006, he was selected as a recipient for the Chief’s Award. He was nominated and voted for by his peers for the first award and was chosen specifically by the Chief of Police for the second.

He shares, “Slow down. Put your cellphone down. Most drivers, and I include myself, do not understand the liability and the risk they have driving the vehicle. Be courteous to other drivers. Even your radio can be a distraction. I have to remind myself, too, but you have a responsibility when you get behind the steering wheel.”

If you see Officer Mrozinski out and about keeping Frisco safe, stop and say “hello!” You will be introducing yourself to a local hero.

Christi Redfearn is a wife, mom and Aggie in search of that perfect lap time in her weekend race car.