Firm hired to find new Detroit Police chief has ties to Board of Police Commissioners

Commissioner Jessica Taylor

The company selected to help find a new police chief in Detroit has ties to the board that made the selection, the Motor City Muckraker has found.

Board of Police Commissioner Jessica Taylor is the director of training at TJA Staffing Services, which received the no-bid contract on Oct. 25.

The unanimous vote, however, did not include Taylor, who recused herself from the vote.

Taylor said she contacted the four-member Board of Ethics to determine how she should handle the potential hiring of her Detroit-based employer and then sent a disclosure letter to the ethics board and police commissioners explaining her potential conflict of interest.

“On Oct. 10, I sent a disclosure letter to each member of the Board of Police Commissioners informing them that I would not involve myself in the process of selecting a search firm, and if TJA was selected as the firm to do the search, I would not be involved in selecting the candidates,” Taylor told the Motor City Muckraker.

Taylor said she’s aware that some people will question whether she had a behind-the-scenes hand in the hiring process.  She said her boss, Thomas Adams, has an impeccable reputation, is well-known and wouldn’t need her help to get the job.

“Other than the BOPC, I’ve never held a public or political office and don’t even like politics, and I’ve never owned a business,” Taylor said. “I’m amazed that people’s perceptions would show them that a person like Mr. Adams would need my status to help him get a search contract. I don’t know if I should be flattered or upset.”

Nor do we. But we salute Taylor for doing the right thing.

Before selecting the firm, Board of Police Chairman Jerome Warfield said it’s vital to remain above board.

“This is our first time ever having this role and responsibility,” so it’s important “that we make sure we move forward in a way that is very transparent,” Warfield said. “We wanted to make sure that every step of the way that people are notified of the progress.”


Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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