Holland — One night in the early 2000s, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cal Keuning found himself on Butternut Drive in Holland, pointing his gun at a vehicle during a high-risk felony police stop.
As other police agencies joined the fray, Cal Keuning noticed the barrel of a shotgun pop up next to him.
From behind, he heard a voice call out, “Hey, Cal, how are you doing?”
Turning around, Cal Keuning saw his younger brother, Dan Keuning, backing him up on the call.
“I’ll never forget that,” Cal Keuning said. “I said, ‘Hey, Dan,’ and then turned back around and yelled at the driver to put their hands up.”
More than a decade later, Cal Keuning is now a road patrol sergeant for the sheriff’s office and Dan Keuning is a community policing officer for the Holland Department of Public Safety.
Born and raised in Holland, graduating from Holland Christian schools, the brothers have been keeping citizens of Ottawa County safe together for 16 years.
Dan Keuning, who is five years younger than Cal Keuning, was the first of the two brothers to have an interest in law enforcement. While in high school, Dan Keuning enrolled in the Holland police cadet program.
Around the same time, Cal Keuning was working as a paramedic in Grand Haven and Holland. While working with the sheriff’s office at medical emergencies, Cal Keuning took an interest in policing.
Though being a police officer was Dan Keuning’s idea first, his older brother beat him to the punch, getting deputized in January of 2000. The next year, Dan Keuning became a full-time officer for the city of Holland.
“We share the same radio frequencies, so we’re always scanning, listening for each other,” Dan Keuning said. “Ottawa County is our brother to the north and with us, truly it is a brotherhood. That’s kind of cool. … It’s a brotherhood with all my brothers in blue and his in brown, but with us, it’s a little unique.”
Cal Keuning is a road patrol sergeant for the county, but he maintains his paramedic status and is a member of the county’s dive team, which he used to lead. As a community policing officer, Dan Keuning instructs the Junior Police Academy, Citizen Police Academy, gives safety demonstrations at schools and community events and focuses on the community relationship with police.
For the brothers, their Christian faith and desire to serve others has led them to their careers. Their middle brother, Brian Keuning, also serves the public as a teacher.
“The way we grew up, mom and dad were very religious with their Christianity,” Dan Keuning said. “It’s made me the man I am today, it’s very important.”