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Posted on Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Saline expected to pick interim police chief on Dec. 19

By Lisa Allmendinger

The Saline City Council agreed to short-term and long-term strategies for replacing Saline Police Chief Paul Bunten Monday night, as the chief's retirement date quickly approaches.

An interim chief is expected to be appointed by the City Council in two weeks, while the city takes its time hiring a new chief.

City Manager Todd Campbell said he’s already interviewed three unnamed interim chief candidates by phone and he and Mayor Gretchen Driskell will conduct a second round of interviews, then recommend a finalist to the City Council at its Dec. 19 meeting.

He said the city needed “someone to keep a hand on the rudder," until a permanent chief is chosen and Campbell's preference is that the interim chief not apply for the open position.

“My hope is that the interim police chief would begin work Jan. 3 and work with Chief Bunten for the chief’s last two weeks on the job to make the transition as smooth as possible,” Campbell’s memo to the City Council states.

Bunten’s last day on the job is now expected to be Jan. 13.

Campbell recommended that the City Council use of a search firm to assist them in finding a new chief, and once one is chosen, he recommended scheduling a city hall meeting to ask citizens what traits they wanted to see in the new chief.

“I believe the police chief is just as important as the city manager,” Campbell said, adding that although the City Council makes the choice and the chief reports to the city manager, it’s important to have input from residents, department heads, and the police department in determining who will fill this position.

Campbell said he’s already had inquiries about the position and expects “We’ll get a lot of applicants.”

Once a search firm is chosen, he recommended the consultants conduct meetings with department heads and the police department in drafting a profile for the new chief.

Because the police chief is such a “specialized position,” he said it was important that an executive search team including up to three City Council members, the city manager and two law enforcement experts, perhaps an area police chief and a law enforcement expert, narrow the number of applicants to 8-12 who would be interviewed “as part of an oral board.”

The executive committee would then recommend the top two or three candidates to the full City Council interviews.

Campbell also stressed that thorough background checks would be performed on both the interim chief and the new chief.

“It will take 5-6 months to go through the process,” he said.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at For more Saline stories, visit our Saline page.


Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

What happened to promoting from within. I am sure there is a seasoned Officer on the force or Detective thak knows every nook and cranny of Saline. That would save a hefty consultation fee, and also create an opening for a new Police Officer somewhere down the line.


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

I'd vote for Paul - especially if he promises to appoint John Ceo the Undersheriff.

roll tide

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

"Paul Bunten 4 sheriff 2012"


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Sheriff dept yet again going for a money grab under the guise of "better and cheaper service." For whom? The sheriff that is. More deputies funded by others that can be redirected to Ypsi Twp. Sweet. Saline residents have to know their costs would go UP and not down if the sheriff had control there. Not to mention lower service levels and longer response times. Does the sheriff really think people are that clueless?


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Common sense? Why is it that common sense always seems to be the least common of all senses? Saline is virutally crime-free due in large part to it's police force. Just remember to watch your speedometer when passing through.

Common Sense

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

Perhaps it is time for our fine city of Saline to take a serious look at disbanding the police force and intergrating it into the county sheriff's department. We would not need to spend big $$$ for a new chief. The dispatchers could also be combined with the county's dispatch system, just like Ann Arbor has just proposed. This would be a good time to seriously look at regionalization of our law enforement services. Saline does not need its own police force. Dexter, I believe, is a good example of how this could work.