by Elyse Apel


An officer from the City of Ann Arbor Police Department retired early due to the “political climate.”

Eric Ronewicz, who serves on the executive board of the Police Officers Association of Michigan, sent an email to his superiors on July 3, 2020, saying officers have received no “clear guidance” on how to handle potentially violent situations. Ronewicz’s resignation over the political climate came as statistics show Ann Arbor police have seen a large drop in police enforcement, including physical arrests, parking violations, and traffic violations.

Ronewicz said in the email that officers didn’t feel they had the support of the police administration. And he said that when suspects resisted arrest, it could lead to charges against the officer.

“We also could have charged criminally in order to satisfy a faction of society even if we abided by law and policy in order to affect an arrest for domestic violence in which force had to have been used,” he said.

In the email, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Ronewicz cited the “mob mentality” that he said has taken over the country.

He said the lack of guidance from the department and a fear of being “criminally charged” if they do engage with an uncooperative subject is constraining police officers’ abilities to do their jobs.

After 24 years as a police officer, Ronewicz said he planned to retire as soon as possible.

Since 2012, the Ann Arbor Police Department reported a significant decrease in arrests, parking violations and traffic violations.

From 2012 to 2021, the last year data is available, physical arrests dropped from 2,610 to 998, a 62% decline. Parking violations reported dropped from 95,990 in 2012 to 51,289 in 2021. That is a 47% drop. Traffic violations in that same time period dropped from 10,638 to 3,354, a 68% decrease.

According to an annual report from the city, from 2012 to 2021 the number of police officers in Ann Arbor increased from 118 to 130.

This follows a similar trend in many other major cities around the country. Philadelphia saw a 57% decrease in arrests from 2012 to 2021, while Atlanta saw a 65% decrease from 2014 to 2021.

Lisa Jackson, chair of the city’s Independent Community Police Oversight Commission, the city police and the mayor’s office didn’t respond to emails seeking comment. James Tignanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan, also didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

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Elyse Apel is a rising junior at Hillsdale College, which is located in Michigan. Originally from Oklahoma, she is studying politics and journalism. Apel is an intern for The Center Square. 
Photo “Eric Ronewicz” by Police Officer’s Association of Michigan.