Police chief comfortable with new role

ALPENA – Joel Jett has accepted the job offer from the City of Alpena to become its police chief. Jett has been with the department for more than 22 years and has been serving in the position as an interim since June 2011 after the retirement of Kim Miller and just recently decided to take the position.

Jett said when he took over for Miller he figured it would be temporary and as time passed he became more comfortable in the role. He said one of the selling points in becoming chief is the strong relationship he has with City Manager Greg Sundin, who was acting as interim city manager during much of the same time period as Jett and the two formed a good working relationship. Last month Sundin was hired full-time as the city manager and when Jett was offered the job he decided to follow suit.

“This is a tremendous honor. Greg becoming city manager was a critical factor to me because I answer directly to the city manager and Greg Sundin is a man I have tremendous respect for,” Jett said. “I know Greg as a person of integrity, honest, fair and intelligent. Those are all qualities I want to see in a boss. When Greg was appointed it made my decision a lot easier.”

Jett said his ability to work with Clerk/Treasurer Karen Hebert, Engineer Rich Sullenger and the other administrative staff also was important while considering the job. He said the support he has received from his officers and clerical staff at the Public Safety Building has been appreciated.

“Coming up through the ranks can be interesting, but the bottom line is I was tasked with running a police department and fortunately from day one I had the support of everyone here. They all have been immensely supportive,” Jett said. “I am very grateful for that. As the last several days have unfolded there has been a number of people say ‘boss we’re so glad it is you,’ and it makes you feel good. If you know you have the support of your officers, that is something you can’t put a price on.”

Jett said Fire Chief Bill Forbush also has been very supportive as Jett learned the intricacies of being a chief. He recalled having a conversation with Forbush about an issue, and during the conversation Forbush interrupted him and told him he sounded like a chief and that he was ready for the job full-time.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bill and he knew I had made the transition before I really did. He told me there was no going back now,” Jett said. “He provided me a wealth of knowledge and was always extremely supportive. He is a very good friend.”

Jett said he became a police officer in order to help and serve the community. He said accepting the job as chief was not about the money, but rather continuing to protect the community at another level.

“This department is tasked with providing excellent service and protection to the citizens of Alpena and it is my responsibility to ensure that happens,” Jett said. “I have been here for 22 years and I’m thankful I have a chance to continue to do so. It will just be in a little different capacity. It is my goal to be sure we have the right people, with the right training to provide the best services for this town.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com