Jackson police chief steps down after 27 years on force

Michigan

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — After nearly 30 years on the force, a mid-Michigan police chief is turning in his badge.

Chief Matthew Heins, Director of Jackson’s Police and Fire Services, recently announced he’s retiring at the end of this week.

6 News sat down with Heins to talk about why he’s retiring after 27 years on the force, and what he’s doing next.

He has been with the department since 1989.

“I graduated from Michigan State on a Friday and started at the police department on a Monday,” Heins said.

He climbed the ranks until 2007, when he became police chief.

But last week, Heins made a surprise announcement.

He’s retiring to become the security manager at Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson.

“Organizations need fresh perspectives, fresh viewpoints, fresh ideas and about 7-10 years in my mind is the maximum time limit, and I think I’ve reached that,” Heins said.

He says the next chief faces many challenges like fighting the city’s heroin epidemic.

“And they’re going to have to deal with the reduction in staff and continue to provide excellent service to the community,” Heins said.

His retirement comes at a time with heightened tensions between police and communities across the country.

Heins says that has nothing to do with his decision.

However, he says police need to be mindful of how they treat the public.

“And that is understanding what the community wants, treating them with respect and being responsive to their needs and desires,” Heins said.

There’s no word yet on who will replace Heins.

But Deputy Chief Elmer Hitt says, no matter who becomes Jackson’s next top cop, the current chief’s years of service will not be forgotten.

“He’s always been dedicated to the city of Jackson. I think him staying local at Henry Ford Allegiance just adds to his credibility to believing in Jackson and wanting to be here,” Hitt said.

And while Heins is looking forward to his new venture, he says saying goodbye to his dedicated team will be the hardest part of leaving the force.

“It’s a difficult business to be in, so we build a special bond with everyone. I will certainly miss the people,” Heins said.

Chief Heins will serve his last day on the force this Friday.

6 News contacted the city to see when Jackson will have a new police chief, or when an interim appointment will be made.

We’re still waiting for a response.

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