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Birmingham Police Chief Clemence retiring soon

By Lisa Brody

After 38 years on the job, Birmingham Police Chief Mark Clemence is calling it a career.

He will retire from the department in early January, looking forward to spending time with his wife, Alison, his three children and new grandson, after joining the Birmingham Police Department in 1985 following graduation from Michigan State University.

He has spent his entire career in law enforcement with the Birmingham department.

Clemence became chief of Birmingham police on May 28, 2016, having first working the road patrol for many years before climbing the rungs up through promotions, first to corporal, then sergeant, and then commander of the detective bureau. In 2009, Clemence became commander of the patrol and services division, and just six months later, he was promoted to deputy chief under then Birmingham Chief of Police Don Studt.

Always seeking to improve his skills and expertise, Clemence has completed over 2,000 hours of documented training during his career, including graduating from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) National Academy and the Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Institute.

Amongst his law enforcement peers, he is known for his investigation skills, notably for interviewing and interrogation, as well as major case administration. According to the city, as an investigator, Clemence had cases profiled on ABC’s “20/20” and Fox’s “Americas Most Wanted.”

Clemence has been a law enforcement innovator, joining forces with Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Township and Troy to develop the multi-jurisdictional “Major Case Assistance Team” – or MCAT – which later has grown to include nine police departments which work together on difficult cases. Recently, he innovated a mental health co-responder program, along with Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Township and the Oakland Community Health Network, to assist their departments in their abilities to help those in the community struggling with mental health issues. The program is proving to be a model for many other CoRE mental health program/law enforcement programs.

Clemence has made a point of prioritizing community engagement, increasing staffing levels in the patrol division and introducing therapy K9 Bella, the first police therapy dog in Michigan. And the Birmingham Police Department worked hard for, and achieved, accreditation through the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police in 2021, “showing that our department works hard to be a professional and transparent organization by holding our personnel to high standards,” Clemence said.

Reflecting on his career in Birmingham, Clemence said, "I could not be more proud of the men and women of the police department who protect and serve the city. They are true professionals and good people. I have always felt that the residents of the city value the police department and I want them to know how much I have appreciated their support.”

Commander Scott Grewe has been recommended to the Birmingham City Commission as the next police chief, and is expected to be accepted and sworn in at the January 9, commission meeting, when Clemence will step down.


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