TAYLOR, Mich. - The City of Taylor has a new chief of police. Cmdr. Mary Sclabassi was appointed on Friday.
The appointment marks the first female chief for the Downriver area.
The department veteran was also the city's first female command staff officer.
"It is a huge honor," Sclabassi said. "This is a great department and I am humbled and honored to be leading these fine men and women."
Sclabassi replaces Chief Dale Tamsen , who filed his retirement letter on Sept. 27 after 25 years with the force.
"He (Tamsen) was my field training officer, it means a lot to me to have him pass the torch."
"Mary is a proven leader and is well-prepared to lead our Police Department," said Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand.
The mayor said Sclabassi's gender never factored in his decision.
"It didn't have any bearing," he said. "But it is something that can't be looked at lightly. She is pretty much the first female everything in regards to the city of Taylor and it speaks volumes to her and her accomplishments."
"Aside from (former Detroit Chief) Ella Bully-Cummings, it's a safe bet she is the first female chief in this region," Lamarand said.
Sclabassi says she doesn't think of herself as a trailblazer.
"I have always thought of myself as just another officer," she said. "With that you get put under a little more of a microscope. I have never considered myself a first female anything. To me it's all about being hardworking and competent,"
Sclabassi started as a patrol officer in 1994 and holds a masters degree from the University of Detroit Mercy in criminal justice and graduated from Norhtwestern University School of Police Staff & Command.
Sclabassi says aside from keeping many of the same department traditions, she also wants to implement some new ideas as well.
"One of the priorities is we're working on modernizing policies and procedures," Sclabassi said. "I would like to see the department be more involved with the community, doing some crime prevention programs with the neighborhoods and enhance some training for our officers."
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