Farmington Public Safety Director Frank Demers shared an emotional farewell with officials and colleagues Monday, after announcing his retirement last week.
The 25-year department veteran has accepted a position with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Deputy Director Ted Warthman will move into the top post.
“Ted is true leader with a proven track record of success,” Demers said. “He will most certainly bring fresh ideas and work hard to maintain the high standards of service this community expects and deserves from its public safety department.”
Appointed director following the 2014 departure of Bob Schulz, Demers first joined the department in 1995. During his tenure, crime rates have declined to record lows, and the department became one of just 10 in Michigan accredited by the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP).
On Monday, Demers thanked residents for the “outpouring of support” they’ve given the department. While some have been critical of law enforcement, he said, “Through it all, our residents have continued to be vocal supporters of our public safety department. It has been truly my honor to serve you.”
Demers also thanked city officials and the Public Safety Department’s “world class professionals” for their support.
“It has been an honor to serve alongside you for the past 25 years,” he said. “Everyone, both sworn and civilian, from the newest to the most senior staff member, understand the mission and the expectations of the department, and work tirelessly to meet those expectations.”
‘A man of integrity’
Council members praised Demers’ professionalism, regard for the community, and dedication to the city’s safety.
“You’re a man of integrity, and you offered nothing less than excellence,” council member Steven Schneemann said. “This city is incredibly fortunate and blessed to be under your watchful eye for as long as it has.”
Council member Maria Taylor talked about how public safety interacted with the peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors who marched in Farmington over the summer. As she walked on the sidewalk with them, a Farmington patrol car pulled into the road. While one young walker was concerned, another said, “No, don’t worry, they’re the good guys.”
“Frank, that is your legacy, and one I’m proud of, and one you should be proud of as well,” she said.
Mayor Sara Bowman said her initial response to last week’s resignation letter was “no, not accepted.” She congratulated Demers and wished him well.
“Your legacy will be that you’re leaving Farmington better than when you found it, and we were pretty darn good,” she said.