Officials from the city of Tecumseh followed a nearly three-month process in the search for a new police chief. In the end, Tecumseh City Manager Kevin Welch decided to promote from within and has recommended Tecumseh Police Sgt. Troy Stern be appointed as the new chief of police. The appointment is subject to city council approval, which is scheduled for Monday’s meeting.
Currently a shift commander, Stern has been with the Tecumseh Police Department more than 16 years. He will replace Mack Haun, who retired in July after more than nine years with the department. Scott Smith has been interim chief since Haun left, and he also will retire Nov. 1.
After undergoing a second interview Friday with Welch, Stern was offered the position by the city manager.
“Pure excitement,” Stern said Wednesday. “It was kind of hard to believe because of the number of qualified candidates.”
The search for a new police chief began after Haun and Deputy Chief John Clark took an early retirement package. After whittling the original 42 applicants down, Welch, aided by a committee, selected five people with extensive law enforcement experience for public interviews.
Stern will begin his new job on Nov. 1, when Smith retires. During his interview Sept. 2, Stern made it clear he was in Tecumseh for the long haul, with no intention of going anywhere else.
“I want this job,” Stern said in the interview. “I think I can be your police chief for many years.”
It was that stance, he said Wednesday, that may have helped him earn the position.
“I think it’s a sign of my strong ties to the community,” Stern said.
Haun served as a deputy and then chief deputy for the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department for 26 years before coming to Tecumseh. He was one of five long-time city employees who took advantage of an early retirement incentive.
A 1989 Clinton High School graduate, Stern worked at Tecumseh Products and Lenawee Stamping while studying law enforcement at Jackson Community College. He worked at the Somerset Township Police Department and the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department before coming to Tecumseh in 1994.
As a shift commander on midnights, Stern said he knows the department and the city government intimately, which will help him jump in immediately. However, he said, that doesn’t mean he will simply take over the chief’s job and start issuing orders.
“I want to meet with everybody and get their ideas on how we can move this department into the future,” Stern said. “I’m very comfortable with all of the advances in technology and how they can be applied to police work.”
On Sept. 2, Stern said the police department’s relationship with the community is vital. He repeated that contention Wednesday.
“That involves me getting more involved in the community,” Stern said. “It means that we have to find ways of getting our department (officers) out in the community more, whether it is through the schools or just meeting with residents.”
The appointment allows Stern to achieve one of his career goals. He told the interview committee that during his original meeting with then-Chief Larry Van Alstine, he had voiced the hope of one day becoming chief of the Tecumseh department.
Another Tecumseh resident, Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Robert Sinclair, was another finalist. He is the assistant commander for the OMNI Drug Enforcement Unit and said he will stay with the state police.
Port Huron Chief Donald Porrett, Canton Lt. Todd Mutchler and Carl Fuhs, West Bloomfield Township executive lieutenant, were the other finalists interviewed in public sessions. All of the finalists but Stern had more than 24 years’ experience in law enforcement.
Category: The New Chief