Ann Arbor will conclude its months-long, nationwide search for a new police chief by promoting internally. City Council is expected to confirm Jim Baird — currently the interim Ann Arbor Police Department chief — as the chief of police at its meeting Monday.
The search for a new chief began following the retirement of former Police Chief John Seto, concluding a 25-year AAPD career. In May 2015, Seto took a new position in the University of Michigan Housing Security and Safety Services. Baird was named interim chief during the search for a replacement.
City Council had previously confirmed James White, assistant police chief of the Detroit Police Department, to be Seto’s successor in November 2015. However, in a surprise move, White turned down his appointment in December, citing a desire to remain in Detroit.
The leadership shake-up has occurred amid greater scrutiny and efforts to reform the oversight of the AAPD following the fatal shooting of Ann Arbor resident Aura Rosser in 2014.
In a public forum on police-community relations in October 2015, Baird emphasized that improving these relationships was a priority for his tenure as interim chief.
Baird joined AAPD in 1993, holding a number of positions within the department — including professional standards lieutenant and crisis response unit sergeant — before becoming deputy police chief in 2013.
Interim City Administrator Tom Crawford cited these experiences in a memo to City Council recommending Baird’s confirmation. City Council will need to approve the resolution confirming Baird’s appointment by simple majority.
In a Facebook post Friday, Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor said he looked forward to working with Baird in his new capacity.
“I’ve very much enjoyed my work with Chief Baird over the past months and look forward to working with him to make Ann Arbor’s disciplined and professional police department even better,” Taylor wrote.
Neither Taylor nor Baird responded to requests for comment.