GWINN - In the wake of an extensive study of its police department, the Forsyth Township Board recently did not renew the contract of Chief Tim Rector, who had been a member of the police force there for roughly three decades.
Township attorney Kevin Koch said the board spent $20,000 to commission a comprehensive review of the Forsyth Township Police Department from the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice.
Koch said the board had received anonymous complaints about the department and there had been problems under the tenures of previous police chiefs.
"There has been a persistent image that the Forsyth Township Police Department has been substandard," Koch said.
Koch said two researchers from MSU completed the study, which included several recommendations on how to improve the department. Some of those recommendations included using crime statistics to match policing efforts with criminal activities, delegating more authority, employing more modern methods of policing, more training for supervisory officers, along with changes recommended for the police station itself.
In general, Koch said the reviewers recommended an emphasis to review and adopt appropriate policies and procedures.
Koch said Rector's contract with the township expired at the end of March. At that time, the board extended the chief's contract for two months.
Koch said the board and the chief both had shortcomings regarding issues detailed in Rector's contract. He said the chief was to have fashioned a strategic plan and goals and the township board fell short in providing feedback or evaluations to the chief.
A phone call seeking comment from Rector was not returned before deadline today.
During the two months Rector's contract had been extended, Koch said the department sought to implement the recommendations from the review.
On May 22, the township board conducted its monthly meeting.
"There was no motion to extend his contract," Koch said.
Koch said he can only surmise the board did not think progress on implementing the recommendations was being satisfactorily made or would not be made.
The two month contract extension expired May 27 and Rector was no longer police chief, a position he had held for the past six years. Koch said there was no provision in place allowing Rector to be absorbed back into the department.
The board voted to extend health insurance to Rector for three months and make Sgt. Adam LaFave acting police chief. A permanent police chief is expected to be installed within the next one to two months.
Koch said anytime someone loses their job, it's a traumatic thing and the board "doesn't feel good"
about Rector losing his.
Koch said the board took a definitive step in a new direction when it commissioned the review.
"They didn't want business to continue as usual," Koch said. "They wanted to change."
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.