Deer Crashes into YMCA

The local Ann Arbor YMCA is a seven story building located downtown on Fifth Avenue, far from any local deer population. On November 26, 1998, a deer oblivious to the sights and sounds of downtown wandered up to the door of the YMCA, where one patron thought it was a dog at first. Possibly seeing its reflection in the glass door of the building, the deer stood on its hind legs and smashed out the window next to the entrance.

The deer made its entrance into the building with seven bewildered patrons in the lobby watching. The deer then pushed open a set of doors leading to the lot next to the library and was last seen running up S. Division, apparently uninjured.

Longtime Officers Retire

Many officers retired during this decade that had contributed greatly to the Ann Arbor Police Department. Detective Mary Smith began her employment with the department in 1961 and retired in 1997, ending a very distinguished career. When Detective Smith started with the department, women were not allowed to go out on road patrol. Mary started her long career in the Youth Bureau, where she served for many years.

Detective Smith served her entire 36 year career in the Detective Division, where she was in charge of thousands of cases. Mary was very well-respected for her role within the police department and known for her love of Michigan State athletics.

Deputy Chief Dave Miller began his career with the department in 1969 and worked through the ranks to Deputy Chief of the Patrol Division. Chief Miller retired in 1998 and shortly after his retirement was honored as the ‘Officer of the Year’ by the Ann Arbor Optimists.

When he was a Lieutenant, Miller was placed in charge of the department's Professional Standards Section, which investigated citizens complaints against officers. While internal investigations are always sensitive, Miller treated the citizens and officers fairly and rarely did either have a complaint once his investigation was completed.

While Sgt. Red Howard was the department's prototypical beat cop in the early part of the century, Officer Rick Cornell filled this role in the last part of it. He retired from the department in 1998 after serving the department for almost 30 years. While Red walked the beat, Officer Cornell rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle on it. Officer Cornell knew the concerns of the business owners downtown, but was really known for his work with the street people of Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor has many street people whose choices in life put them there. Most have drug or alcohol problems and find that living on the streets suits them best. These folks have a great knowledge of what is going on and who is doing what and would often pass this information on to Officer Cornell. The reason why they did so is the respect he gave them, when so many people turned the other way.

Sgt. Don Terry was another longtime member of the department who retired 1999 after 30 years of service. Sgt. Terry was in charge of the department's budget which swelled to 13 million dollars a year during his tenure as budget director.

With the retirement of Sgt. Terry, the last of the officers hired during the 1960's were gone from the department.

Sgt. Dennis Betz retired from the department in January of 1999 after serving over 26 years. Sgt. Betz worked in the Detective Division's Checks and Fraud unit but was best known for work on U of M Football Saturdays.

Sgt. Betz directed traffic at the busy intersection of Main and Stadium during Michigan home football games. He worked this corner for 15 consecutive years, never missing a game. After Sgt. Betz's last football game a special salute was made to him on Michigan Stadium's jumbotron. Clips of Sgt. Betz directing traffic were shown on the screen and the university thanked him for his service.

Murder, Suicide

Many murders that occur are crimes of passion and the murder of Christopher Groesbeck on March 5, 1999, was no different. Groesbeck was murdered by his ex-girlfriend Natasha Qureshi in his apartment at 727 E. Kingsley. Qureshi then committed suicide after the murder.

There were no warning signs to suggest that such a crime was forthcoming. Groesbeck had graduated from the University of Michigan in 1998 while Qureshi was a senior. The two had met at the university and had been seeing each other for a little over a year before breaking up.

Groesbeck had failed to show up for work at the Campus Inn and his supervisor called his mother. His mother called friends of Groesbeck's and asked them to check on him. They did so and discovered the bodies. It was found that Groesbeck had been shot to death and Qureshi then turned the gun on herself and committed suicide.

Chief Carl Ent Resigns

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Chief Carl Ent was appointed in 1995 to replace Chief Douglas Smith, who left to become the Chief of Police in Tucson, Arizona. Chief Ent had been police chief in Muncie, Indiana, where he had worked through the ranks from officer to chief.

Chief Ent was the third chief in a row to be hired from outside of the Ann Arbor Police Department. Chief Ent soon endeared himself to the community with an emphasis on community policing.

While popular in the community, he lacked this same support within the police department. Starting in 1998, three lawsuits were filed by officers in the department against Chief Ent. These lawsuits alleged that three employees were not promoted due to alleged discrimination of some kind.

Eventually these lawsuits were settled out of court and all three officers were promoted and received a monetary award. After the last lawsuit was settled in December of 1999, Chief Ent resigned from the police department, presumably under pressure from city administration. Chief Ent was given a severance package from the city and his 5-year tenure as chief of police ended.

Retired Deputy Chief Walter Lunsford was appointed as acting chief while the city conducted a nationwide search for the new chief.