Ann Arbor police pick new community relations officer
Sgt. Sherry Vail has been named media and community relations officer for the Ann Arbor Police Department in what police officials say is an effort to build a “positive relationship” with local residents.
Vail began her new job today, taking over the position from Sgt. Jan Suomala, who will retire Jan. 1.
“We perceive a need to do more in the area of community relations,” said Executive Deputy Chief William Hoover. "We are making a commitment to make people aware of how the Police Department works and, at the same time, we’re encouraging feedback from the community."
Complaints or comments about police contacts with the public are also encouraged, Hoover said.
As part of its effort to upgrade community relations, Vail’s sole responsibilities will be media and community relations. Suomala had also been involved in the city’s disaster preparedness program and in police records. Following Suomala's retirement, Lt. Donald Leach will take over disaster preparedness and Sgt. Jack Ceo will take over records.
Vail said she hopes to develop specific programs to aid in building a stronger bond with the community.
Aside from providing information to the news media, Vail will spend much of her time speaking to various civic and professional groups and schools.
Vail reached a milestone last December as one of two women to be promoted tc sergeant, the first time in the department’s history that women were named to a command position.
After graduating from the police academy in 1976, Vail spent five years on road patrol, three years as a dispatcher and two years as a training officer.
Sgt. Sherry Vail's appointment is part of a police effort to build a 'positive relationship' with local residents.