City staff are being notified today that the City of Saline will hire a consultant to conduct an independent review of Saline Police Department operations.
City Council is being asked to approve a $5,000 contract to hire John Hess to review the department and provide a report and recommendations to council.
“I hope to get honest, objective feedback from a law enforcement professional to determine if there are changes that need to be made to ensure our department effectively services the city of Saline,” Marl said.
The city’s police department has been riddled with in-house fighting and divides for years. Some of these issues have come to light with Officer Chris Boulter’s MERC complaint against the city and Officer Don Lupi’s lawsuit against the city.
The request for consultation services are a result of numerous conversations Mayor Brian Marl has had with community stakeholders.
“It is apparent that there are a number of questions and perspectives. It is clear from the conversations that there is no consensus. Therefore, it seems the community as a whole, and we, as leaders, would benefit from information gathered in a thorough, independent review of the Police Department,” Marl wrote in a memo to members of City Council.
Hess has more than 35 years of experience in law enforcement. He was Undersheriff in Kent County.
Marl explained the mission and scope of the review in his memo:
The review will include a thorough, independent look at the Police Department, requiring conversations with staff at all levels. The review will also include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Conversations with former Department employees, community stakeholders, and other organizations that have contact or dealing with the Department (i.e., Pittsfield Township Public Safety, Washtenaw County Office of the Sheriff, Washtenaw County Prosecutor, etc.).
- Any and all Department contracts and policies.
In the event that there are any allegations, new or preexisting, that in the reviewer's professional judgment he believes warrant further attention by some other entity, he is empowered to contact that other entity to request that an investigation be conducted.
At the conclusion of the review, council will receive a written report with recommendations. Marl said the review will be independent – free of influence from anyone in city government or city government. Marl wrote that he has no preconceptions as to what the review might find.