City of Riverview officials believe new Chief of Police Ronald Beggs will serve the community well.
Chief Beggs, who retired as a well-respected commander after 25 years with the Dearborn Police Department, was approved by the Riverview City Council on Jan. 11.
He succeeds Chief Clifford Rosebohm, who held Riverview’s top police position for the last seven years of his 33 years with the department before retiring in November and moving to Tennessee.
City Manager Douglas Drysdale said Beggs is the 15th police chief in city history.
“The chief was very impressive with his extensive experience working for the City of Dearborn and the extensive network of different organizations he collaborated with on projects,” Drysdale said. “We especially liked his eagerness for getting involved in the community.”
Mayor Andrew Swift agreed, saying Drysdale made a great selection.
“After meeting with our new Chief of Police Ron Beggs, I am convinced our City Manager Doug Drysdale made the right choice,” the Mayor said. “There were several great candidates and I am sure the choice wasn’t easy. We had a nearly two-hour meeting and discussed many topics. I am convinced that our community will embrace him and his efforts to build a relationship with our residents.”
Beggs said he aspired to be a police chief and looks forward to that role in Riverview. He said he enjoyed his time in Dearborn, served in a number of important leadership capacities and did not really want to retire, but he faced a decision based on pension and healthcare concerns, plus the fact that an upcoming election in Dearborn will lead to a new mayor who will want to appoint his own chief.
“I’m excited after 25 years to pursue other opportunities,” Beggs said. “I’m incredibly grateful to the City of Dearborn. I love that city. They gave me opportunities that most local police officers don’t get the opportunity to do. I owe the most to Chief (Ronald) Haddad.”
As a longtime Downriver resident, including the last 15 years in Huron Township, Beggs said he has come to know Riverview as “a nice, quiet Downriver community” with a low crime rate. He knew retired Chief Rosebohm and attended monthly meetings with him and other Downriver police chiefs.
“The community is incredibly supportive of its Police Department,” Beggs said. “The officers I’ve met here so far have been very welcoming. They feel very optimistic about the future. Many have expressed to me that they are interested in not only being really good police officers but providing good service to our neighbors. Seemingly, a lot of our officers reside in Riverview. That speaks volumes.”
He expressed appreciation for Riverview police Administrative Lt. Richard Troup, who “has been invaluable to me in terms of helping me settle in and handling much of the day-to-day administrative tasks.”
“I’m grateful and excited for the opportunity,” Beggs said. “I’m very much a people person. A lot of this COVID stuff and social distancing has been tough for me. I would love to be high-fiving kids at school. I plan to be very visible in the community. God willing, if we have a football season in the fall, I’ll be out in the community. I’ve connected with several residents on Facebook. If they have a neighborhood association, I’ll be happy to come and speak and listen.”
Among Beggs’ plans for the department:
● Increase the strength of the department from its current roster of 20 officers to its budgeted strength of 25.
● Equip officers with NARCAN nasal spray for opioid overdoses and automatic external defibrillators for officers to use in emergencies.
● Continue to enhance community relations with residents, in schools and in faith-based groups. Increase public communication and transparency, providing consistent news releases and improving the Police Department website to assist in recruiting. He plans to increase social media presence and “amplify” important news in Riverview and the surrounding area.
● Increase the police presence in schools by forming a police chief youth advisory council to address concerns from the community and build stronger relationships between young people and police officers.
● Participate in ALPACT (Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust) to expand diversity and inclusion. He said the group fosters communication between law enforcement and community groups, while building networks.
As for being a chief hired with extensive experience outside of Riverview, Beggs said, “I think it can be beneficial in many circumstances to have someone from the outside. You get a fresh set of eyes and skill set and coming from a community that is larger and a little more diverse.
“I’m incredibly grateful to be part of this team
Married for nearly 23 years to wife Shawn, a financial administrator at Beaumont Hospital, Trenton. Daughter Ainsley, 18, is a student at Eastern Michigan University. Daughter Kelsey, 16,is a student at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central. Son Andrew, 13, is an eighth-grader in the Huron School District.
● Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology at Eastern Michigan University, 2000
● Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn 2007
● Certificate from the School of Police Staff and Command at Northwestern University, 2010. He teaches the course Strategic Budgeting for Police Executives.
During his 25 years with the Dearborn Police Department, Beggs had a wide range of opportunities that extended well beyond the traditional law-enforcement career. As a senior police executive in a department of 194 sworn officers and 144 civilian employees, his responsibilities included implementing effective crime reduction strategies, policy development, internal investigations, promoting law-enforcement best practices, fostering relationships with external parties including residents and other community and law-enforcement stakeholders, promoting favorable legislative initiatives and gaining support for grant funding.
He also was involved in budget drafting and execution, labor relations, policy development, community relations, the creation of a regional 911 dispatch center, emergency management and Downriver Mutual Aid, among others.
Since June, Beggs has been a project consultant with the Wayne County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force through the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. He is part of a team of U.S. Department of Justice grant-funded consultants tasked with reviewing and investigating “cold” rape cases in Detroit. The cases involve DNA evidence collected from survivors of sexual assaults.
Participated as a presenter in many panel discussions on such topics as community policing, law enforcement’s cooperation on terrorism, multi-faith targeted violence and the opioid epidemic.
● Prison Fellowship Advocate on criminal justice reform
● Operation Underground Railroad human trafficking prevention
● Volunteer for Team Rubicon, a disaster-response organization
● Active in church. Makes annual trips to Ethiopia do charitable work at local orphanages and a transitional home for at-risk girls.
● Served as a high school football coach the last three years.
About Community Policing: “I am a strong advocate for community policing,” Chief Beggs said. “I wholeheartedly believe that every police department needs to have a presence, beyond and in addition to their law-enforcement role, in the community that they service and must always be an advocate for the community. Residents, visitors, businesses and faith-based organizations all play vital roles in the creation of a community that is safe and vibrant.”