The police chief shares some thoughts as he heads for Colorado.
From the April, 2018 issue
"Ann Arbor can be a challenging environment," says AAPD chief Jim Baird. Baird announced his retirement in February after twenty-five years with the department but just two as chief.
The ebullient chief says the timing is unrelated to plans to create a policing commission. "In any police action, there will be a certain percentage of the people that will back us no matter what," he says, and "a certain percentage of the people that will vilify us no matter what." If the commission gives the open-minded people in the middle a better understanding of police, he says, "it can only be a benefit."
Since Baird can retire with full benefits, staying after his silver anniversary didn't make financial sense. But "it's not about leaving here," he says. "It's about going there": he's already been hired as chief in Breckenridge, Colorado, a small resort town with just twenty-five sworn officers.
Baird does have one piece of advice for his bosses on city council: "It's my recommendation that they not post the position immediately." With the powers and makeup of the policing commission still to be decided, "I don't think the likelihood of getting a good candidate to apply is going to be very high, because you don't know what you're walking into."
Mayor Christopher Taylor concurs. "I don't believe we're going to hire a new chief until the policing commission is formed," Taylor says. "I don't expect it will be this calendar year." Till then, deputy chief Bob Pfannes will run the department as interim chief.
[Originally published in April, 2018.]
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