Barry Township police chief resigns amid reserve officer controversy

Posted at 11:18 PM, Aug 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-07 23:18:01-04

DELTON, Mich. - Barry Township is now looking for a new police chief after Victor Pierce resigned after a closed session meeting at Delton-Kellogg High School Thursday night.

This puts an end to controversy and allegations that Barry Township police department, particularly the reserve officer roster, are too big and too aggressive for the small community.

The decision was announced following a two-hour closed session meeting.

When board members returned, an attorney speaking on behalf of Pierce thanked the public for supporting the chief but said the decision to resign was based on the his diminished ability to be a leader in the community.

The controversy began with an incident back May 2014 when a bar owner claimed police used excessive force after they caught him urinating next to his business.

The officers involved were investigated by Michigan State Police and cleared of any wrongdoing.

After the Barry Township board accepted the chief's resignation, a dozen people in the crowd ran out into the parking lot where we were told they heckled Chief Pierce as he drove away from the meeting.

Back inside the auditorium, members of public were given three minutes to speak in reaction to the resignation.

One person took the time to play the song, "What a Wonderful World" performed by Louis Armstrong over the P.A. system while those in support of Chief Pierce left the auditorium.

It was clear a divide in the community remains as the township must now move forward with finding a new chief. Board members explained to the public that process would begin on Friday.