Kellie Bauss is sworn in as Clawson’s police chief on May 17. She is the department’s first female chief. Bauss has been with the Clawson Police Department for 18 years.

Kellie Bauss is sworn in as Clawson’s police chief on May 17. She is the department’s first female chief. Bauss has been with the Clawson Police Department for 18 years.

Photo provided by Clawson Police

Clawson hires its first female police chief

Bauss plans to increase officer wellness, community outreach

By: Mike Koury | Royal Oak Review | Published June 5, 2023

 Bauss has been with the Clawson Police Department for 18 years.

Bauss has been with the Clawson Police Department for 18 years.

Photo provided by Clawson Police


CLAWSON — For the first time, the Clawson Police Department will be led by a woman.

Kellie Bauss, a longtime member of the Clawson Police Department, began her tenure as police chief on May 17. An 18-year veteran of the force, Bauss has spent almost her entire career in Clawson, aside from a short stint at the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Bauss was the department’s commander in charge of criminal investigations, in addition to overseeing its recruitment and training division, prior to becoming chief. She said that taking on this job has been a career goal since day one.

“Clawson is a wonderful community,” she said. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve here. Clawson has been my home away from home for almost two decades now, so I’m very excited for this opportunity.”

When she first started in Clawson in 2005, Bauss remembered how the department didn’t have a female locker room. Now, almost two decades later, she has become the first female police chief in its history, which means a lot to her.

“I was the first female supervisor when I got promoted to sergeant, first female detective, pretty much first female everything,” she said. “There were a couple of female officers that have been hired in Clawson before my arrival in 2005, but as far as I know, they were only here a few months and then moved on to other, larger police departments. I think I’m the first one that’s been here for more than a year or so.”

Bauss was approved as chief by the City Council May 2, following a recommendation from a committee led by City Manager Joseph Rheker. She succeeds Scott Sarvello, who retired last year. Vincent Smith had served as police chief in the interim.

Mayor Paula Millan said Bauss is committed to the community and city leaders have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead the department.

“Clawson has an exceptional Police Department. The men and women who’ve chosen their careers here to serve in Clawson are exceptional, and I think Kellie is just an example of that,” she said.

“I asked her why she wanted to come to the community, like why she wanted to be chief, and she said that she likes how Clawson supports one another, and that’s why it made it easy for her to feel like it was home,” she continued.

Though it’s early into her tenure as chief, Bauss said some programs and plans she has for the department include continuing to improve community outreach and creating an officer wellness program.

“Research shows that at any given time, 25% of your employees are dealing with an issue that impacts their life,” she said. “This obviously is going to impact their job performance, which impacts the services that you can provide your community. So an officer wellness program is really important. That will include, first of all, a peer support team, so that’s what we’re working on assembling now. … We are in the process of sending people to some training for that and just learning more about it so that we can get that assembled this year.”

Bauss also noted that police will be rolling out a virtual neighborhood watch program, where businesses and homeowners can register their camera systems with the department to assist with investigations.

“Even if it’s just a lost child or an elderly person who possibly drove away from home and we’re just needing some assistance looking in the area for stuff. Obviously, it helps us solve other crimes, too,” she said. “After that, we’ll be rolling out … basically neighborhood liaison officers, which there’ll be a few officers assigned to each area of the city to assist citizens and business owners with just general answering of questions, that they don’t need to come into the Police Department or call the records division or call the detective bureau. They can kind of call their officer directly, establish a relationship with that officer, whoever’s assigned to their area, and troubleshoot anything that’s going on or collaborate together on ideas.”

Millan said Bauss is going to be instrumental in writing the next chapter of accountable community policing in Clawson.

“She’ll be excellent for ensuring public trust and guiding our next generation of police officers,” she said. “I think that’s something great that we can all look forward to from her.”

With a couple of weeks completed as chief, Bauss said that so far the job has been going well.

“I think what makes this easy or easier is that we have a wonderful community that supports this Police Department and that makes this job a lot easier, but also just have a really dedicated police force and that also makes the job easier,” she said. “So having just a really great group of people that are selfless and really take pride in their job and in the community that they serve makes this a smoother transition for me.”