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Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor makes it official with swearing in of new police chief

By John Counts


Chief John Seto is sworn in Thursday afternoon in City Council chambers.

Melanie Maxwell |

It’s official.

Six months after being appointed to the position in an interim capacity, John Seto was sworn in as the chief of the Ann Arbor Police Department at a jubilant ceremony in council chambers Thursday.

In July, City Administrator Steve Powers picked and City Council confirmed Seto, who will be the first chief to rise up through the ranks of the department to attain that position in decades.

At Friday’s ceremony, Powers said support for Seto was overwhelming across the board.

“It was strong from … law enforcement,” he said, adding the community was equally supportive. “I have been very impressed with his integrity, his competence and his vision …”


Seto's daughter, Katie, pins on the badge at Thursday's ceremony.

Surrounded by a standing-room only crowd, Seto invited his two children, Katie and Chris, to pin the badge on him.

"This is not about me. It's about all of us and the offices that we hold," he said. "I want to make sure we maintain that great and rich tradition we have in the police department."

Seto said he wouldn't be in the position he is today without the help and support of that department.

"You have raised me. You have mentored me. You have shaped me into the person I am today. I thank you for that," he told the crowd, which included many members of not only the Ann Arbor Police Department, but law enforcement agencies from all across the county.

Seto's first official act as chief was to preside over a ceremony honoring two retiring members of the department, Officer Dawn King and Detective Bernard Tucker.

Both had served 25 years.

King was a district coordinator and was involved in the DARE and Adopt a Family programs.

"She has touched the lives of many children in this community," Seto said.

The well-being of animals was also one of her passions.

Tucker started in the department as an undercover officer in drug-related work. He retires from the detective bureau where he worked on the Special Victims Unit, which handled sexual assaults and juvenile issues.

"Those are the toughest cases you have to handle," Seto said. "Tuck has handled a lot of very difficult and emotional cases involving young children."

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Aug 18, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

second job:cut the budget


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Considering that police contact is the primary contact citizens have with city government, it's a little surprising that we treat the police command positions so casually and so easily accept whatever city administrators choose to do as fait accompli. Just sayin'. For example: I remember the extensive coverage given to the search for the last police chief and the fanfare for the final selection: Dan Oates. Hmm, I'll bet that no one imagined we'd be seeing Dan Oates in the national spotlight: the one shining on the police chief in Aurora, Colorado. Well, anyway, lets hope our newest police chief isn't so accepting of policies which allow lone gunmen to access and shoot up movie theaters and other collection points for crowds of disarmed citizens. See, it's these little policy matters which can make "a difference." I find myself wondering what Chief Seto would say if his daughter got shot by a "crazed gunman" in a movie theater or mall which has no security and which denies the right of citizens to the most effective means of defending themselves. I know what I'd say if that happened to my daughter -- and I'd know how to file the appropriate law suits as well. I just don't want ever to see Ann Arbor become another Aurora, Colorado. I wish Chief John Seto and our city government the best of luck in making Ann Arbor the most innovative and courageous in the area of our safety and rights.


Mon, Aug 20, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

Ok..... So what are you proposing? Without offerring any solutions all you have is a vailed comment on a newspaper website. Share your ideas on how to stop a crazed gunman in a movie theatre. I imagine your answer is guns. I don't know what John Seto has to do with forcing a private property holder (movie theatre) to allow firearms on their property but hey good rant about something that has nothing to do with the promotion of a police chief. Last time I checked, no one is forcing you to go to a movie theatre. If you want to carry a weapon in a theatre, build your own and then you can watch a movie with an Ak47 and a bucket of popcorn. USA USA USA.

Milton Shift

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 7:13 a.m.

Vote down this comment!


Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 3:41 a.m.

Way to go Chief Seto I am very happy for you and for Ann Arbor!

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

I hope the appointment of Mr. Seto as the new Police Chief is about effective and fiscally responsible policing and not political posturing and showboating. Top notch people doing a top notch job is what it should be all about.


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Congratulations Chief. I know you will do a great job!


Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Congratulations Chief Seto. I ask that you and your force get to work cleaning up the vagrancy problem on Liberty Street (and downtown in general). Thanks, Downtown Resident.

Milton Shift

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

And where do you propose to move these people?

Milton Shift

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

So what's his position on marijuana - specifically, the $25 ordinance, and the medical marijuana ordinance? Will they be respected, or will democracy be disregarded and state law enforced?

Albert Howard

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

We recognize John Seto in his official capacity as the new police chief. Ann Arbor resident Blair Shelton (international media landmark case plaintiff) and I believe that now is the right time for law enforcement to return the DNA samples to the men who were wrongly accused. In addition, Mayor John Hieftje should issue a formal apology. Albert Howard Mayoral candidate

Linda Peck

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

Congratulations Chief Seto. I wish you all the best. I support the Ann Arbor Police Department and you and salute your courageous efforts.

Top Cat

Thu, Aug 16, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

Mr. Seto looks like he was born to be a Chief of Police. Best of luck to him.