Memphis has new top cop, expected to reopen department

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Memphis is expected to reopen its troubled police department after a new chief was approved by city council, officials confirmed.

Stanley Muszynski, a retired Shelby Township Police Department lieutenant, was voted into the top cop spot Tuesday night, according to Memphis City Clerk Donna Janssens. The hire comes less than two months after the city temporarily shut down its police department during the search for a new chief.

“It’s contingent on him getting his MCOLES (Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards) certification and then a physical exam,” Janssens said. “And then he will start after approval April 5.”

Janssens said the police department is expected to reopen sometime after Muszynski assumes his new role.

“He’ll work with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office; they’ll go over everything and have some meetings,” she said.

Muszynski also will get time to review the situation before reinstating the department, which includes eight part-time officers who have been on paid administrative leave since the department closed.

The hire comes after former Chief Kevin Sommers died Jan. 1 during surgery. He had been tapped to deal with long-standing issues at the department, including missing firearms, police radios and evidence.

Also, two officers who faced allegations of falsifying a police report were investigated by the St. Clair County sheriff’s department, at Sommers’ request.

Sommers was the third chief in 18 months for the one-square-mile town straddling Macomb and St. Clair counties. It has 1,200 residents and a welcome sign billing it as “a pleasant place to live.”

Former Police Chief Jessica Beels was fired in 2014 and former Chief Scott Sheets was demoted last year. The city thought it had turned the corner with the hiring of Chief Sommers in August. The longtime Warren police officer impressed residents and city leaders as friendly and energetic.

But Sommers, 56, died of a heart attack during emergency surgery for digestive problems.

Macomb and St. Clair county sheriff’s offices took over after the police department’s abrupt closure, Mayor Eric Schneider said at the time. Calls to 911 were not affected.

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