Dearborn Heights police chief resigns, citing ongoing issues with city council

Jerrod S. Hart (Fox 2 Photo by Dave Herndon)

Dearborn Heights Chief of Police Jerrod S. Hart stepped down from his position on Wednesday, effective immediately, according to an announcement from the city's mayor.

His resignation comes amid ongoing conflict between Mayor Bill Bazzi and the Dearborn Heights City Council. 

According to the mayor, Hart cited "the continued harassment, retaliation, defunding of key positions and other unprofessional tactics my leadership and I have endured from several members of the Dearborn Heights City Council" as reasons for his departure. 

On the night of June 28, the Dearborn Heights City Council avoided a potentially crippling government shutdown by approving a 2024-25 budget with a 5-2 vote

If the city council had not approved a budget, they would have missed the state-mandated deadline of July 1, leading to a shutdown of city services —including trash pickup, youth and senior programs, the city's website and cable TV channel, among others— and the cessation of compensation and benefits for all city employees.

And while the budget was approved, several cuts were made. City council members went through the numbers line item by line item, and even corrected dollar amounts for salaries of police officers and other city officials.

"In spite of this, the Council did violate the City’s own Charter by not adopting a proposed budget prior to its deadline of the first Monday in June," according to Bazzi. 

Hart served as the city's police chief since February 2022.

"I am devastated at the loss of Chief Hart," Bazzi said. "He was a respected key in the reorganization and improvement of our police operations – which resulted in many creative and innovative initiatives that helped protect our community, while giving our officers opportunities for professional growth. He will be sorely missed, and I wish him the very best".

Hart’s resignation could be the first of several changes within the city’s leadership staff, the mayor suggested, according to the announcement.

"I certainly wish them well. Support and good will from folks like this is a key reason I can look back with pride at my 33 years of service in the law enforcement profession," Hart said.

Mayor Bazzi immediately instated Dearborn Heights Police Department Director Kevin Swope as the new police chief.