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Michael Cox sworn in as Ann Arbor's new chief of police

Michael Cox takes the oath of office as Ann Arbor's new chief of police in council chambers on Sept. 24, 2019. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

Michael Cox was officially sworn in Tuesday afternoon as Ann Arbor's new chief of police in council chambers at City Hall.

Members of his family, mayor Christopher Taylor, members of the Ann Arbor Fire and Police departments, Washtenaw County officials, city staff and council members, and members of the public were present at the event. 

Cox, who served in his hometown of Boston for 30 years, was unanimously confirmed by city council on July 1 after a months-long search for candidates, which had narrowed to three finalists.

Cox praised the lengthy application process during his speech.

"The thoroughness of that process ... every place should be involved like that. Because I got to meet the community, I got to meet city council members, I got to meet people from every part of the city before I ever got here. And that's important. Because that told me quite a bit about who this city is, what this city is, what's important and who you all are."

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During his remarks, Mayor Taylor said he is confident in Cox's ability to lead the Ann Arbor Police Department.

"His experience, his character, his perspective," said Taylor. "I know and am confident that policing in Ann Arbor is in good hands when Chief Cox comes on board."

Michael Cox's wife, Kimberly, pins on his badge as their son, Michael Cox Jr., looks on at his swearing in ceremony on Sept. 24, 2019. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

Assistant City Administrator John Fournier also spoke at the event, and praised Cox's emphasis on community policing.

"For those of us who have worked with Chief Cox, so far, nearly two months on the job, it is evident that we have welcomed a person of integrity, of great vision and of tremendous leadership ability to our team," said Fournier. "He is a forward-thinking and creative problem solver and has dived headfirst into the job with all of the joys and complications the position may bring. 

"He is constantly talking about the personal touch of policing and the incredible impact of just being visible in the community in a positive way can have both on the police force and the community. It's a message and a vision that the Ann Arbor Police Department has always embraced."

For his part, Cox began his speech by thanking members of his family for supporting his long career. 

"All of my accomplishments that I've had have not been on my own; it's certainly been through them and with them," said Cox in front of a crowded chamber. "I lost my mother in August, last month, and she would have loved to be here. Throughout my life, I've been promoted several times, but she would have loved this."

Cox's sister, Cora Davis, flew in from Boston to see her brother be sworn in as chief of police. 

"Michael's achievements are a major pride to our family," said Davis. "He's done very well, and he's been persistent. He's hardworking, honest, and he exemplifies all of the things that our parents raised us to do and be. We want to show him how proud we are and want to be here to support him."

Michael Cox's siblings Cora Davis, David Cox and Barbara Wooten. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

Cox shared during his remarks that his wife of 31 years, Kimberly, made the decision to leave her career to come to Ann Arbor.

"I'm just half of that formula," Cox told A4. "We've been together from college until today. We've been through so much in general … I thought it was appropriate to share that."

Kimberly, an anesthesiologist for nearly 20 years in the Boston area, said she didn't give it a second thought. 

"When he decided that he wanted to enter the search for police chief here in Ann Arbor I thought it was a great idea," she told A4. "My son played football here and I thought it would be full circle to come back to Ann Arbor again. We've been married for 31 years, so wherever he goes, I go. It's not even a second thought."

As for the Ann Arbor Police Department, Cox said he is impressed more and more each day by their commitment and hopes his leadership will challenge them to better themselves and engage with the community more than ever.

"To the men and women of the Ann Arbor Police Department I say: Expect to be challenged," said Cox. "As we go forward, I am going to challenge you to hold me and the organization accountable for making sure that you all are developed, making sure that you all have the tools that you need to do your job. I expect you guys to come to work every day like you've been doing with the passion to make this place better, make the job better, and more importantly to keep the citizens of Ann Arbor safe."

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About the Author:

Meredith Bruckner

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.