Michael Cox, Ann Arbor’s new chief of police, was officially sworn in on Tuesday afternoon. The ceremony took place. in the City Council chambers and the audience consisted of several citizens, police officials, government officials and Cox’s close family and friends.
At the start of the ceremony, Mayor Christopher Taylor welcomed the crowd and shared opening remarks. He began his speech by addressing the goals of the Ann Arbor municipal department in general.
“It is at this time in this political environment, and this social and cultural environment, that policing receives an incredible amount of scrutiny,” Taylor said. “That scrutiny is appropriate … because of the intimacy and force of this service (and) because of the need of the service … We in the municipal organization are delighted to tell people more about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, because we have a department that is professional and disciplined and staffed by people who come to work every day to do their best to provide law enforcement safety services without bias or favor.”
After explaining the overarching goals of the Ann Arbor municipal department, Taylor expressed his enthusiasm for Cox’s new role.
“I am particularly delighted that we have Chief Cox coming and joining us,” Taylor said. “I know and am confident that policing in Ann Arbor is in good hands when Chief Cox comes on board.”
Taylor then invited Assistant City Administrator John Fournier to the podium. Fournier mirrored many of Taylor’s sentiments and spoke highly of Cox’s work ethic and character.
“For those of us who have worked with Chief Cox in, so far, nearly two months on the job, it is evident that we have welcomed a person of integrity, great vision and tremendous leadership abilities to our team,” Fournier said. “He is a forward-thinking and creative problem solver, and has dived head-first into the job, with all of the joys and complications the position may bring.”
After Fournier and Taylor spoke, Cox was welcomed to the front of the room and officially presented with his badge. Cox then took his oath of office, led by City Clerk Jackie Beaudry.
At the end of the ceremony, Chief Cox addressed the crowd to share some of his personal goals moving forward.
“I believe the (Ann Arbor) Police Department is already very good, but going forward, we’re going to start to do things a little differently,” Cox said. “You will be able to see men and women out there, hopefully, talking amongst you … (and) being part of the community in a different capacity than just, you know, arresting people. Arresting people is part of the job; however, being a part of the community is a bigger part of the job.”
He concluded his speech by encouraging Ann Arbor citizens to reach out to the police department to keep an open dialogue.
“Hopefully, you’ll talk to us and tell us what you expect, what you want from us, what you need, what you don’t want from us, so we can adjust our practices, tactics and policies to reflect what the community here desires,” Cox said.
Many of the people attending the ceremony expressed their support for Cox’s intention to bridge any existing gaps between the Ann Arbor police force and the city’s community. Lieutenant Renee Bush volunteered her own encouragement on behalf of the department.
“We are very excited to have Chief Michael Cox here,” Bush said. “He came from Boston, and he brings a lot of experience, and knowledge, and skills and abilities to the city of Ann Arbor. We are especially excited about moving the department forward with some new things for our community, and to become closer with our community partners.”