This year’s National Cherry Festival also brings the last day on the job for Traverse City’s Police Chief. Jeff O’Brien worked one last shift at this year’s festival, and now he’s officially retired.
Chief O’Brien started as a reserve officer in 1983 and was hired full-time on July First 1991. Over his career he served as a motorcycle officer, firearms instructor, detective, and sergeant . But technically he started nearly 40 years ago, part-time, as a reserve officer. “I started as a Reserve Officer in 1993. Somewhere in the fall, I want to say. It took eight years to break on to the job. July 1, 1991,” O’Brien says.
His favorite role was as Sergeant, where he served for about 12 years. In 2015 he became the Interim Chief and then was hired on permanently. “I was just happy to get the job. I didn’t think I was ever going to be in this position. I never planned for it, I never expected it.”
The chief entered into retirement on July First - his 32nd anniversary. “This department is in very good hands. These officers are very well trained. They’re bright and competent and they’re highly educated. They have the principles there that are going to carry forward what we’ve been doing and they’re going to take it to a higher level,” O’Brien says. “It has been an honor to be the Chief.”
Traverse City’s new Interim Chief is Matt Richmond. There’s no timeline yet for hiring a permanent replacement, as the City has many open positions, including City Manager.