Farmington Public Safety director retires after 25 years

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published January 12, 2021

 Frank Demers

Frank Demers

 Ted Warthman

Ted Warthman

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FARMINGTON — As the year 2020 came to a close, so did a chapter of Farmington Public Safety Director Frank Demers’ career with the force.

Demers announced his retirement from his role as director at the Dec. 21 City Council meeting, where he spoke emotionally of a laundry list of family, friends and colleagues who have supported him through his previous 25 years with the department. His last day was Dec. 30.

“I have so many people to thank and so much to be grateful for that I can’t possibly mention everything tonight,” he said Dec. 21. “Together we have laughed, cried and shared some of our most memorable moments together. I’m so proud of your teamwork and the high standards you hold yourself to. Thank you all for all you have done to make my job easier. I wish you and your families all the best in health and safety.”

Acting Deputy Director Ted Warthman stepped into the role as the new director, saying he felt “honored and humbled that (he gets) to lead this fine group of men and women.” He was appointed by City Manager David Murphy.

Demers began his career with the Farmington Public Safety Department as a patrol officer, before being promoted up the ranks all the way to director. In his 25-year career, he served in the detective bureau, as a sergeant, as a commander, and as the special operations commander before being appointed director in 2014, where he served for six years.

“There comes a time when you look at your career and think, ‘Where am I at right now and is there something else I could maybe pursue?’ because police work isn’t easy, especially being chief for the last six years. It definitely has its challenges,” he said. “Knowing my eligibility for retirement was coming up, I took a personal step to put myself out there and see if there was another opportunity I could perhaps begin a new career path.”

That’s exactly what Demers found through the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration Department, where he will serve as a safety representative for Wayne County investigating violations and other handlings under the purview of workplace safety.

Demers, who will continue to live in Farmington, said he won’t be a stranger around town.

Reflecting on his 25 years of service, Demers remembers one moment specifically that felt like the peak of his career.

“When I was assigned to the special operations division, I was in a place of authority where I could dig up some old cases and see if there was any evidence that might help in any unsolved crimes,” he said, explaining a 1979 cold case in Farmington that he and other department personnel successfully solved, and the criminals involved were convicted. “Being involved in that case and seeing it through from start to finish was definitely the high point of my career.”

Demers said the biggest lesson he learned along the way was to never take the community’s support of law enforcement for granted, and to remember that respect is earned.

Transitioning into his new role as director, Warthman will be looking to ramp up the department’s community engagement efforts.

“I think there’s more room for some community engagement, namely the farmers market would be a great place for us to set up a booth every Saturday … to meet and greet, and answer questions for the community,” Warthman said. “Neighborhood groups is another one I wouldn’t mind getting involved with.

“I know there’s still some neighborhood groups that still get together, like Chatham Hills. My thinking is maybe have an officer assigned to each neighborhood, and they’d attend meetings as they have them.”

As Demers said his final goodbyes to City Council members, city administrators and many others, he was met with gratitude for his service to the community and praise for the legacy he leaves behind.

“Your legacy will be that you’re leaving Farmington better than when you found it, and we were pretty darn good when you got in charge,” Mayor Sara Bowman said Dec. 21. “Your legacy will also live on now through Director Warthman. You have primed (him) and he’s had a great role model.”

For more information, visit farmgov.com.

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