Shelby Township police chief chosen for Administrator of the Year Award

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 3, 2019

 Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide received the 2019 Administrator of the Year Award from the Police Officers Association of Michigan in Grand Rapids May 23.

Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide received the 2019 Administrator of the Year Award from the Police Officers Association of Michigan in Grand Rapids May 23.

Photo provided by Robert Shelide


SHELBY TOWNSHIP  — Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide recently was chosen as Administrator of the Year by the Police Officers Association of Michigan.

POAM is an organization that provides labor-related services for law enforcement officers. It is Michigan’s largest police labor union. This was the first time that Shelide had been nominated for this award.

“Since the day I was hired, Jan. 12, 2015, I have made it my mission to be the best chief of police and leader to our staff that I am capable of. I do this by surrounding myself with talented people who are committed to the vision for the agency, which is ‘Setting the Standard for Law Enforcement Excellence in Macomb County.’ These aren’t just words to my team. We live them,” Shelide said via email.

“We make sure that everything we do that affects the staff is analyzed and done for the betterment of the community and our staff,” he stated.

Shelby Township Patrol Officers Association President Phil Young wrote the nominating letter that was used by the Police Officers Association of Michigan to choose Shelide.

“You are not going to find a better leader. He is innovative, truly cares for the community and is extremely compassionate about his employees,” Young said in an email.

The nomination
“Chief Shelide took over the department four years ago. Prior to him being hired, the department went through numerous chiefs of police. ... Initially when he was hired, many patrol officers were skeptical, fearing he would be more of the same. Slowly over time, he gained the trust and belief from the union body. In 2018, his trust was solidified with the union. This was due to his willingness to work hand (in) hand with the union to reach an amicable resolution to issues and programs. … Since his hiring, Chief Shelide has hired 18 patrol officers. This is unprecedented, since the department had not hired an officer in approximately seven years,” Young wrote.

Young went on to list how during stressful situations in April and November 2018 involving fatal shootings by police in the township, Shelide took the time to ensure that officers’ needs were met, worked with the union to start a cadet program, provides his officers with the latest equipment, added two officers at Utica Community Schools, recognized the need for a Special Investigations Unit to handle major cases, expanded the traffic unit to include a sergeant and four patrol officers, and the Police Department building is being expanded.

Officer James Knobelsdorf, who met Shelide at the Detroit Police Department and has known him for more than 30 years, also wrote a letter supporting Shelide for the award.

“He was definitely deserving of the award. He just does an amazing job under some very difficult challenges,” Knobelsdorf said via email.

Letter of support
“In a few short years, through professionalism, vision, commitment to service and enthusiasm, Chief Shelide has been able to change the entire organizational culture of the department,” Knobelsdorf wrote.

He said Shelide used resources to connect with the community and changed the expectations of members of the Police Department. He lauded how Shelide handles difficult situations.

“Chief Shelide looks at each incident on its own merits and reviews whether the incident arose from a policy or training deficiency, to which he always takes ownership and remedies the deficiency.

“I can honestly say that in 18 years that I have held a command staff-level position, I have never worked with an individual who has put his subordinates’ needs and concerns before his own to the level that Shelide does. He is certainly worthy of this prestigious award,” Knobelsdorf wrote.

‘Clicking on all levels’
Shelide’s executive assistant, Patti Koenig, who has worked under five of the six chiefs in the department’s history, shared her thoughts on Shelide receiving the award.

“I believe that over the years, our department has always been top notch, including the six chiefs I worked for. The only one I didn’t get the pleasure of working for was our first chief, Chief Robert Smith. Just after I started in the Police Department, in 1988, our department purchased Tandy laptop computers for the officers to write their police reports. Since then, we have always been — and still are — ahead of the game in technology and equipment. I will say Chief Shelide has been a big piece as to how this department has evolved. From technology and equipment, to employees and leadership, he has driven this department into what it is today,” Koenig said in an email.

Shelide said that being nominated and chosen for the award meant a lot.

“I wouldn’t be honest with you if I told (you) that it didn’t mean much. In fact, the opposite is true,” he said.

“To me, this award is the result of a team effort of each and every member of our staff. Our sworn staff is on the front lines on a daily and hourly basis protecting our residents and business owners from evil. Our administrative and civilian staff are committed to supporting our sworn staff in every way possible. Everyone knows what their responsibilities are and kept accountable by our leadership team. We are clicking on all levels, and for those reasons, I proudly accept this award on behalf of our entire team,” Shelide said.