The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to extend the tenure of West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton April 17.

The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to extend the tenure of West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton April 17.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

West Bloomfield police chief’s tenure extended

‘I think you’ve earned the right to stay as long as you want’

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 7, 2023


WEST BLOOMFIELD — The contract of West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton includes a provision that makes his mandatory retirement age 65.

Patton is set to turn 65 in June, and with his birthday approaching, after speaking with his spouse, he came to the conclusion that he is not ready to hang up his badge just yet.

However, he is also keenly aware that the decision is not his alone to make.

Patton decided to send an email to Supervisor Steven Kaplan and the township’s Human Resources department about making a request to have his tenure extended and have it placed as an agenda item at a township Board of Trustees meeting.

His request to have his tenure extended beyond the mandatory retirement age of 65 was part of the agenda at a Board of Trustees meeting April 17, and trustees unanimously approved Patton’s request.

“It is my pleasure to move to extend Police Chief Mike Patton … (to) waive the mandatory retirement of age 65,” Trustee Howard Rosenberg said at the meeting. “I’m glad you decided to have us exempt you from your retirement. I’m glad you decided to stay, and I think you’ve earned the right to stay as long as you want.”

Township Clerk Debbie Binder said that she is grateful that Patton is willing to continue his role as the township’s chief of police.

“To receive your letter requesting to stay longer just made me smile,” Binder said at the meeting. “I know the commitment that you have, not only as a resident, but as the police chief.”

At the meeting, Patton’s comments were primarily directed toward crediting the “tremendous team” that he has to work with. However, others weren’t as reluctant about giving him credit.

“A symphony playing by itself is a cacophony,” Trustee Jonathan Warshay said. “It requires a conductor of stature to make them have a good sound, and that’s what you are.”

Treasurer Teri Weingarden referred to Patton as the “gold standard” at the meeting.

“You are what policing should be in the United States of America,” she said. “You’ve really grown a beautiful department. I could not be more proud than to have you as my police chief.”

At the meeting, Kaplan pointed out that Patton hasn’t lost his zeal and that he is still excited about “every aspect of policing.”

“You’ve done a good job, in terms of selecting police officers and PSAs (Police Service Aides) and dispatchers,” Kaplan said. “The promotions you have made have been well deserved, and that really speaks highly for the township. … The people we have working for us in the Police Department — the 82 officers and 12 dispatchers, and what do we have, seven PSAs? — they really perform well, and you deserve (the) lion’s share of the credit.”

Patton has spent his entire career, which spans approximately 38 years, with the West Bloomfield Police Department. He was appointed as the chief of police in 2010.

In an interview with the Beacon, he acknowledged the words spoken about him at the Board of Trustees meeting.

“It was a unanimous vote, so I was very pleased with that, and I remain here, in service to the township,” Patton said. “All the board members said very nice things. … It’s always nice to hear.”

Patton’s tenure with the township is now open-ended.

“I serve at the pleasure of the township board,” he said. “They can always, at their will, find that they want a new police chief. They would just give me notice of that and we would part. … I could decide to leave at any time.”

Patton shared what led him to make the decision to continue his role as West Bloomfield’s police chief.

“I still like what I do for work every day,” he said. “It’s a privilege to work here in this community and to serve as the chief of police. … I just turn the men and women here loose every day and they go out, and they’re the rock stars. … My job is to get them the training, the equipment, the supervision and the leadership so they go out (and) be those rock stars.”

Patton said that the Police Department is in a good place.

He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to continue to serve in his role.

“It’s about continuing service to this community that’s both where my home is and where my heart is,” he said.