2018-03-08 / News

Debate over police chief qualifications continues

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

SWARTZ CREEK and MUNDY TOWNSHIP – The Metro Police Authority board is still parsing out a method for selecting a replacement for Chief Dan Atkinson, who retired Feb. 28.

Lt. Matthew Bade is handling the chief’s duties while the board debates details such as whether the new chief should have a college degree and whom they will allow to apply.

Atkinson, at the February board meeting, endorsed Bade as his permanent successor and urged board members to act immediately on his recommendation. Police union leaders also endorsed Bade, as did board member David Guigear, who said Bade has the educational and experiential background to lead the agency as more departments are brought under the Metro umbrella.

However, some members of the authority board have their sights set on a different candidate: former Swartz Creek Police Chief and Metro Assistant Chief Rick Clolinger.

Clolinger addressed the board in February, saying he was forced out of his position before he was ready when the Swartz Creek and Mundy Township police departments merged to form the Metro Police Authority in February 2017.

He added that he gave 40 years to the community and the police department, and participated in negotiating the contracts that facilitated the merger.

The issue of education has become the main point of contention with the authority board divided over which of the two frontrunners – Bade, who has a master’s degree, or Clolinger, who does not have a college degree – is best suited to lead the department.

Board members are hoping to nail down all of the details when they meet with the authority’s attorneys at a special meeting at 7 p.m. March 15 at the police building on Hill 23 Drive.

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