When he applied for a job with Farmington Public Safety 24 years ago, Ted Warthman was asked about his long-term goals.
“I told them I wanted to be Director,” said Warthman, who was sworn into that post last week.
After starting as a reserve officer, Warthman rose through the ranks to become Deputy Director in February 2015. He worked closely with Director Frank Demers, who retired in December.
Over the course of almost six years, Warthman said Demers got him involved in almost all aspects of the department. The Deputy Director runs operations, which provided experience in scheduling, payroll, staffing, and more.
“We had talked about succession,” said Warthman, who grew up in Novi. “Frank and I had a great relationship as friends but were never afraid to tell the other when we disagreed.”
The biggest challenge now, Warthman said, is hiring. In addition to Demers’ retirement, the department has lost two officers to resignations, another to retirement, and is awaiting the return of Commander Andrew Morche, a deployed U.S. Army Reservist. Two new officers have been offered positions that start February 1.
Also, the department’s Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police accreditation expires this year. Morche has led that charge in the past; he’s expected to return in July or August.
Warthman said he plans to continue community policing programs like Neighborhood Watch, Halloween patrols, and building tours (when that’s safe). He’d also like to bring a fire truck to the Farmington Farmers Market once a month, as a way of connecting with the community.
Farmington officers are encouraged to go the extra mile, Warthman said. A recent example had them carefully extricating a hawk that had been caught in the grill of a vehicle on M-5:
While 2020 was a tough year for many police departments, Warthman said the Farmington community has been overwhelmingly supportive. He still has a stash of donated restaurant gift cards to distribute.
“Our community support hasn’t changed since I started in 1995,” he said. “We never take that for granted.”
Warthman said he feels lucky to have served under the leadership of directors Gary Goss, Mike Wiggins, Chuck Nebus, Bob Schulz, and Demers.
“I plan on following in their footsteps,” he said. “I think Farmington really did it right, and I expect the same from myself… honesty, transparency, and a good work ethic.”