Following the recent announcement that Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones plans to retire, the city of Ann Arbor announced yesterday that John Seto, the deputy chief of the Ann Arbor Police Department, will assume the role of interim AAPD chief and safety services area administrator starting March 31.
Seto has worked with the department for more than 20 years and has been in charge of AAPD’s patrol division during his time as deputy chief. Initial reports suggested that Jones would retire on April 1, but a press statement released yesterday reported that he will retire March 30.
The release notes that City Administrator Steven Powers will eventually recommend a candidate for the permanent replacement of Jones. Powers could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In an interview yesterday, Seto said he plans to meet with Jones and Powers in the upcoming weeks to discuss his responsibilities as interim chief.
Seto said the city is losing a valuable asset to its police department with the retirement of Jones.
“Chief Jones has been a great leader during some challenging times,” Seto said. “I appreciate his guidance not only as a law enforcement executive but also as a friend.”
Last week, Seto joined Jones at a meeting at Ann Arbor’s Clague Middle School to address a recent trend of home invasions throughout the city. As interim chief, Seto will inherit the investigation into the more than 82 home invasions that have occurred in the city since January.
Seto is also a member of the Student Safety Workgroup, a collaboration between AAPD, the Department of Public Safety, the Division of Student Affairs and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center in an effort to keep students safe on and off campus.
Seto said in an interview in January that he became involved in the workgroup to demonstrate his department’s commitment to student safety.
“AAPD is there to pledge the full support of the police department in this initiative to improve student safety,” Seto said. “I think our other role is … along with the University of Michigan police and the Dean of Students Office, to collectively evaluate ideas that may improve student safety and see how we can implement those in a collaborative effort.”
Seto has also participated in campus discussions regarding student etiquette on Football Saturdays. In November 2010, Seto met with members of the Interfraternity Council and the Michigan Student Assemblywho were frustrated with an increasing amount of noise and trash violations being issued to students due to game celebrations. Seto told students that police involvement on the street comes mostly from the concerns neighboring residents, but encouraged them to bring their complaints to the Ann Arbor City Council.
Seto also praised the Greek community’s Sober Monitor Training Program, which assigns specific fraternity members to remain sober and vigilant at parties in order to prevent alcohol-related injuries. At the meeting with IFC and MSA, he called the program “a great idea” with “a lot of potential.”