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  • James Townsend

Portland Man Retiring After 32 Years with State Police


The following if from a press release from the Michigan State Police dated January 21, 2020. Image from Michigan State Police.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is announcing the retirement of Deputy Director Lt. Col. W. Thomas Sands effective Jan. 27, 2020. Sands, who most recently served as commander of the Field Support Bureau, is retiring after 32 years of service.

Sands joined the department in 1987. Following his graduation as a member of the 102nd Trooper Recruit School, he was assigned as a trooper to the Grand Haven Post. During his career, he has held several investigative positions, as well as several command positions, including serving as commander of the Jackson and Brighton posts.

In 2008, Sands was promoted to captain of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, where he led the state response to numerous gubernatorial and presidential declared disasters, including an oil pipeline spill where over one million gallons of oil was released and flowed into the Kalamazoo River.

In 2013, Sands was promoted to lieutenant colonel and selected to lead the Field Services Bureau with responsibility for the department’s law enforcement operations statewide.

In January 2019, he was selected to command the Field Support Bureau, which includes the Forensic Science Division, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, Office of Highway Safety Planning and 911 Administrative Section.

Sands holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University and is a graduate of the 211th session of the FBI National Academy. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, he and his wife Sally now reside in Portland.

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