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Mayor Rick Sollars, in a surprise public announcement during the 2017 Inaugural Ceremonies Tuesday night (November 14), named John Blair (above) as Taylor’s newest police chief. Richard “Rick” Hopper was named deputy chief.
Mayor Sollars was the keynote speaker during the inaugural, held at the Lakes of Taylor Golf & Banquet Center before about 200 people. After this speech, which emphasized governmental teamwork, The mayor called both men to the podium to be officially sworn in by City Clerk Cindy Bower.
"We did a wide, in-depth search to find a new police chief and deputy chief,” Mayor Sollars said. “But as it turned out, we had the best people for the job right here in our own department. I couldn’t be happier.”
The search committee spent months going through candidates for the position, some of which were from departments with as many as 3,000 employees.
Both Chief Blair and Deputy Chief Hopper were extremely happy with the appointments, and a large contingent of Taylor Police attended the event. Blair had been acting chief since July 2017. Like those before him, Chief Blair is a longtime member of the force and was an executive commander before being named acting chief.
He started his career with the department in 1991, and worked various assignments including road patrol, SWAT, field training officer, firearms instructor, investigations, special operations and traffic division. He has also served in a supervisory position as a road patrol, K-9 and special operations sergeant and lieutenant of the traffic division, and commander of the patrol division, firearm training unit, traffic division and special support services section.
He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Police School of Staff and Command. He has been a MCOLES certified firearm instructor since 1997 as well a State of Michigan certified Concealed Pistol License instructor since 2002.
He has also served as program director of two Federal Cooperative Agreements with the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Acting Chief Blair was selected twice as the Department’s Officer of the Year (1999 and 2008) and the Police Officer Association of Michigan Officer of the Year in 2008.
Deputy Chief Hopper (below), a former Commander, also has over two decades of experience in the department.
He has been with the Taylor Police Department for 20 years and is currently in charge of the Investigative Division and Records Bureau. He also oversees internal affairs, hiring, recruiting, departmental freedom of information act requests, and technology related items.
During his career he has served as a Public Service Officer (three years), Road Patrol Officer (four years), Detective (two years), Special Operations Detective (three years), S.W.A.T. Team Operator (five years), Patrol Sergeant (four years), Patrol Lieutenant (two years), Investigative Commander (two years).
He obtained an Associates Degree from Schoolcraft College, Bachelor Degree from Eastern Michigan University and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Public Administration.
He served for six years as a U.S. Army Military Police Officer with the 1176 M.P. Company with a 1 year deployment in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.