The Saline Post has learned from multiple sources that City of Saline Manager Todd Campbell will recommend Sgt. Andrew Hartwig as the interim Police Chief until a permanent chief is hired.
Friday the city issued a press release announcing city council will interview two finalists for the position: One-time Saline resident and former Milan Police Chief Jeffrey Lewis and Novi Assistant Police Chief Jerrod Hart. They’ll be interviewed by Saline City Council Nov. 9 after a 5 p.m. meet-and-greet with the public.
Campbell told The Saline Post an interim solution would be recommended to city council at the Nov. 13 and flatly refused to provide any information. Campbell refused to elaborate on why he was withholding the information. Prior to the city sending the press release, Campbell and Mayor Brian Marl did not return phone calls on the matter.
Officials in city government confirmed Sgt. Hartwig has been tapped to be interim chief. Current Chief Larry Hrinik’s last day is Nov. 14.
Everyone who spoke to The Saline Post asked to remain anonymous, fearing repercussions for violating gag rule policies enacted in city government.
Hartwig is a 16-year veteran of the Saline Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in December of 2013. He’s taken on more responsibility since moving from midnights to the day shift.
City personnel who spoke with The Saline Post say Hartwig is well-respected and has the confidence of the officers in the department.
So why is the city keeping the recommendation quiet?
One source said city staff and city council wish to avoid questions about why the department’s senior command officer is being bypassed. Sgt. Jay Basso has been a sergeant in the department for more than a decade. In the last two years has been named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by Washtenaw 100 and was the Saline Salutes First Responder of the Year. Basso, unlike Hartwig, does not possess a bachelor’s degree. The city did not require Basso possess a degree when he was called upon to manage the department several times during Hrinik’s absence.
(Editor’s note: The Saline Post generally does not run stories with anonymous sources. In this case, The Saline Post has made an exception because city officials refuse to comment, city council members have adopted an ethics policy that discourages talking about issues, and city employees fear reprimand.)