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Posted on Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Ann Arbor Police Department losing 205 collective years of experience with retirements this month

By Lee Higgins


Police Chief Barnett Jones said he doesn't expect the loss of nine senior members of the Ann Arbor Police Department will affect the department's ability to investigate crimes.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Nine Ann Arbor police officers with a combined 205 years experience, including the head of the department's detective division, have retired or will retire by the end of this month.

However, Police Chief Barnett Jones said he doesn't expect it will affect the department's ability to investigate crimes.

"We're losing a lot of experience, but there's a lot of experience behind the experience," he said. "In this department, the people waiting to be promoted have been preparing for that next level."

Among the nine are Det. Lt. Mark St. Amour, who heads the detective division, and Det. Sgt. Brian Jatczak, a supervisor in that division who was heavily involved in investigating seven attacks on women during the summer. So far, no arrests have been made in that case.

Also retiring are Sgt. David Strauss, Sgt. Andrew Zazula, Det. Greg Jones, Officer Pat Codere, Officer Samuel James, Officer Jeffrey Flynn and Officer Craig De Voogd. Zazula, a patrol sergeant, had the longest tenure at AAPD, having worked there 28 years.


A look at the officers retiring this month

Four of the positions being vacated are from the command staff. To fill the nine positions, Jones plans to rehire three officers who were previously laid off.

Then the department will hire six new officers. After that, there will be promotions to fill the command staff positions.

Hundreds of police officers in the state are without jobs, so there is a good applicant pool, Jones said.

"The mayor and council are allowing me to fill every position that is being vacated by a retiree," he said. "I'm very happy with that decision."

Jones said the men retiring will be missed.

"There's a wealth of experience and community attachment and community knowledge," he said.

The men retiring "deserve to be honored" for their service to the community, he said. A coffee hour is being planned for the officers and their families. Jones said he expects there will be some good-natured harassment, some pats on the back, some tears and some great smiles.

St. Amour, who is retiring after 20 years, said he felt it was time to move on. Early next year, he plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, which has been a "lifelong dream."

After the hike, he plans to look for another job. St. Amour said what he enjoyed most about the job was working with the people of Ann Arbor.

Det. Greg Jones, who is retiring after 19 years, also said it was time to move on. He worked for two other departments, he said, and has the utmost respect for the AAPD.

"I wouldn't want to commit a crime in Ann Arbor because these cops here that I work with are the absolute best I've ever seen," he said. "They go after criminals with a vengeance, and that's the kind of department I want to be a part of."

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at


Frustrated in A2

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

I wish those retiring the best. The city is losing a wealth of knowledge but I have faith in those still wearing the badge!!!

Tony Livingston

Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

The purpose of retirement pensions is to support people in their retirement years. The commonly used ages for that are between 62 and 65. I don't think anyone should receive a retirement pension before age 62. It is not financially sustainable for the city to continue blindly on like this. Vesting at 10 years is fine. If someone wants to quit and work elsewhere, their pension will still be there when they reach 62. The current system is essentially a golden parachute.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

Most of these officers and detectives have served with another police department, before they were Ann Arbor Officers. Some served in the military, some did both. Collectively they have severed well over 205 years in some capacity as police officer or solider. It takes a special person to dedicate their life to the service of others. Each and every day they went to work, in the back of the their mind they knew that they could be placed in harms way. They also knew that they may be called upon to make a split second decision, regarding another's life. How many of you can say you deal with that type of stress each and every day? I am very grateful for their service, and I am thankful that there are men and women out there that choose to do this as a profession. They have earned their respective retirements. I wish them the best!


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 10:26 p.m.

Daisy 1, you said that very well. Sometimes I feel like people think the only thing that Ann Arbor cops do is write traffic tickets. They aren't aware of the countless drunk, drug crazed, suicidal, angry, crazy and desperate people they come in contact with on a daily basis. Any one of them could harbor a weapon. These things just don't make the paper. And yes, these people do reside in Ann Arbor.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.



Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

First off the retiree's do not get health care till they die. They receive health care till medicare kicks in. If they wish for city health care when they are eligible, they must then pay for it. Secondly, everyone is forgetting about the ability for some employee's of the city that were able to buy four years of military service. This was the greed of Neil Berlin as he wished to retire soon when he was city administrator. He set up the buy your military program and also set up vesting for your pension at five years instead of ten. Mayor Heiftje was on council at this time and voted YES on these programs.. The city has since changed the vesting period back to ten years. Funny how the public is jealous of the employees but the city heads set up the ability to retire early. Thirdly, one must not forget the lawsuit the Ann Arbor Police Officers Association filed in the early eighties after they caught the city taking money from the City's Pension System. If it was not for the greed of the city at the time, the lawsuit would have never been filed and the retirement age would be higher. Unfortunately, your city government continues to fail it's citizens it is elected to serve.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 4:07 p.m.

I wish them all well, I also wish I could retire with as few years in my career and receive a pension. Actually I wish I could get a pension. I still have 20 years left in my career after the 25 I've worked to date. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy to work and pay taxes so that my public servants can retire early while I continue to work ................But I guess that's why we pay taxes.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 4:11 a.m.

"Then why didn't you pick such a cushy profession?" How do you know I didn't at least try?


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : midnight

I feel exactly the same way and am in similar (but perhaps worse) circumstances. My idea of pension right now is hopefully having my mortgage paid off by the time I'm in my fifties (early fifties preferably). Then beyond that saving whatever is leftover until I'm old enough to not work (don't even have 401k or any retirement plan where I work, much less matching contributions). Who knows if social security will still be available, or at what age I'll be eligible, or what mere pittance it will pay by then? Not trying to play the entitlement card by any means. I'm just saying those of you that have retirement plans, consider yourselves fortunate. I guess there has to be some incentive to being a police officer, otherwise if the wage and benefit structure were equal to what the private sector offers we'd have a problem finding cops. But even being related to retired police officers, even they will admit they had it pretty well to put in only ten or twenty years, be young enough to work another line of work, then still collect a pension.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 11:57 p.m.

P.S....not really your hard earned tax money. Most is out of their wage, which I am sure will still be your argument that that is still your tax money. Oh yea an FYI average amount of retirement before death is 7 years for cops. Join the ranks all.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

What line of work are you in?


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

"St. Amour, who is retiring after 20 years, said he felt it was time to move on. Early next year, he plans to hike the Appalachian Trail, which has been a "lifelong dream." After the hike, he plans to look for another job." 20 years on the job and a nice big fat pension and healthcare till they die. And then they can go get another job . St. Amour started in 1991, assuming he was 25 at the time, he would be retiring at the age of 45. It is ridiculous that the taxpayers are getting fleeced like this. Rather than the public honoring these young retirees, I think the retirees should honor the public as they will be paying close to if not more than one million dollars a year to support these folks over the next 30 years or so. Go Green Go White


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

Fortunately not all Spartans have that particular "sparty-logic". LoL.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

LOL @ sparty-logic. Failure on sparty!


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

Retirement vs. "I Quit" I Quit means: All of the money you have in the City's Pension System will wait there until you are of an eligible retirement age, approximately 60 y.o. At that point, you will begin collecting a monthly payment, no health insurance benefits from the City. Retirement means: You are "vested". You have reached the retirement eligibility put forth by the City. For example, 50 y.o. with 25 years of service, 60 y.o. with 10 years of service. Leaving under this umbrella begins your City Pension immediately and also you carry your current health insurance benefits until you are eligible for Medicade. This retirement check is not enough to live off of unless you have at least 30-years of service and then it is still quite small. Other sources of income are needed. The $100K packages to non-administrators are a thing of the past.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Thanks for the informed reply, nice to see here without any sarcasm or critiques about retirees and those who separate after decades of loyal public service.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

thanks for the response Sandman.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

Ummm I don't think any retired cop will be on medicaid sandman. Medicaid is for poor people, its a governmenent handout, a safety net shall we say. Medicare is for people over the age of 65 or disabled. One pays in to medicare, where as if you have no money, no assests, one would be ale to apply for medicaid.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Congratulations and best wishes to those of you who are retiring. May you be blessed with many years of kicking back, relaxing and enjoying life to the fullest.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Its sad to lose season policemen but now we get younger and better trained officers. So let's have a toast to Ann Arbor's new finest!


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.

Better trained? What could be better training than 18-28 years of actual experience? Are you actually suggesting Academy experience outweighs real world police experience?


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

I wish these officers well. I do believe that they have served their city well. I'm sure their retirement packages will be appreciated. We must remember that they are not the ones who set the conditions for them. Maybe they deserve them more for serving in a city that sometimes seems so removed from reality in it's government and attitude. Good luck to them!

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

"St. Amour, who is retiring after 20 years..... plans to look for another job." I don't mean this question in a snide or sarcastic way at all for those reading this. But whats the difference between quitting and retiring? When does "I quit" become "I'm retiring"? Just the eligibility to continue getting paid under a retirement agreement? Because it seems to me if one leaves one job voluntarily with the plan to get another job that person quit. I realize "I quit" doesn't sound nearly as friendly as "I'm retiring"


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

I believe, and would venture that most believe, that when someone is eligible for retirement and activate it they become a retiree regardless of whether choice or forced circumstance leads them to another job. Maybe physical, family, or other challenges lead to these decisions to retire. Who are you to judge?

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

No Rob far from a 1%'er. I'd be happy to meet you at a public location and compare tax returns for the past 30 years. e-mail me and we can work out the details. I realize many retirees need to supplement their modest retirement incomes. I also realize some people with good pension plans bail out as soon as they are eligible. Often with several good years of service still within them. Some of these folks may find a second career that gets them a second pension. I am not passing judgement on that but I might suggest those folks more appropriately "quit" than "retired" in a game of semantics.


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

Most retirees have to work to supplement their income now. Are you seriously unaware of that? 1%'er perhaps?


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.

18 to 28 years I wonder what kind of retirement package they have?


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

A well deserved one after having protected the public 18-28 years.