There’s a new chief in town.
Barnett Jones, the current police chief in Sterling Heights, was hired as Ann Arbor’s next police chief, city administrators announced Monday.
If approved by the city council at its May 15 meeting, Jones will begin work June 1 as the city’s first black police chief.
Jones will also have additional administrative duties as the safety services administrator, who oversees the city’s fire and emergency-management departments.
NAACP member Riana Anderson said that Jones’s appointment was encouraging, but that the AAPD must reform how it treats black students at the University in order to improve relations with the black community.
“It’s good to see any progression made within communities of color, but one of the main concerns we have is the treatment of African American students by the AAPD,” she said. “If that fact (that the police chief is black) is the only thing that changes, we are not happy with that.”
Jones replaces Daniel Oates, who left the department last November to accept the job of police chief in Aurora, Colorado. Oates told the Daily in October he was leaving to gain experience in a larger community and department.
After the initial search, city administrators narrowed the list of possible candidates for Oates’s replacement to five before selecting Jones.
Department of Public Safety director Bill Bess, who interviewed the candidates, said Jones’s energy and experience impressed the group.
“He’s a 24/7 police chief,” Bess said.
Although the police departments of Sterling Heights and Ann Arbor are comparable in size with about 250 employees each, working with a campus the size of the University will be a new challenge for Jones.
City Council member Leigh Greden (D-Ward 3) working with the University campus was discussed in the interviews. He said Jones’s previous experience working with smaller community colleges would aid him in his new position.
“His energy and love for the University and community are very refreshing,” Bess said, adding that Jones has been a long-time supporter of the University. Bess added that Jones even said he “bleeds maize and blue” at one point during the interview.
Lieutenant Michael Logghe – who has worked under four chiefs in his 20 years with the AAPD – said that while any chief will run a department with his own philosophy, he does not expect Jones to make any major changes.