Saline City Councillor Jack Ceo and former Deputy Police Chief delivered the final report and recommendations of the Saline Police Advisory Board Work Group at Monday’s council meeting.
The work group was tasked with determining whether the city should create and advisory board to benefit a Saline Police Department that was riddled with controversy and low morale in 2015 – after legal and quasi-legal actions were launched by long time officers Don Lupi and Chris Boulter. Lupi later dropped his lawsuit and Boulter lost his case.
The group recommends the city not form a civilian advisory board and that complaints be handled in accordance with current police department policy.
“The work group was in unanimous agreement that there is significant community support of the Saline Police Department and the work they do, and that the community feels confident in their ability to continue policing themselves should the need arise,” Ceo told council.
Ceo told council the group found that there was a common thread among cities of Saline’s size. Either they never formed advisory boards. Cities that formed such groups tended to do so in response to a crisis or an issue. Over time, the advisory board would fall into disuse, Ceo said.
According to Ceo, Police Chief Hrinik reported there has been one complaint of police misconduct during his five-year tenure. Research into the matter did not corroborate the complainant’s allegation, Ceo said.
“Nobody felt there was any crying out for civilian oversight of the department,” Ceo said.
Councillor Dean Girbach asked Ceo if the group sought public comment. Ceo said the group did not.
Mayor Brian Marl thanked Ceo and the group for its work and for a frank and honest discussion about the Saline Police Department.
“Public safety is probably the most important service city government provides its residents. Many things flow from having a safe and secure community,” Marl said.
The group met four times during a two-month period.
The group included Ceo, Police Chief Larry Hrinik, Mayor Brian Marl, City Manager Todd Campbell, Saline Police Department detective Michael King, Saline resident and Ann Arbor police officer Katie Nucci and city resident Norma Smith.