Law
5:10 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Don't know much about Detroit's new Chief of Police? Read this.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr named former Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig as Detroit's new Chief of Police.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett attended the press conference, where Orr announced that Craig will begin July 1, 2013:

The new police chief of Michigan's largest city says he's committed to reducing violence and making the Detroit Police Department a premier police agency.

This announcement followed the plan that Orr outlined in his 45-day report on Detroit's economic status. 

The Detroit Free Press outlined nine points that Orr focused on, including his plans for the Police Department:

Present state: The department is in disarray, hampered by a revolving door of leadership -- five police chiefs over the last five years -- and outdated equipment. The result is a police force plagued by slow response times, an inefficient deployment of officers, poor case-closure rates and extremely low employ morale, the report says. Orr Counted the department's workforce at 2,540 sworn employees and 430 civilians.

What's next: A new police chief to replace Chief Chester Logan, who is serving on an interim basis and plans to retire, will be hired 'imminently,' the report says. Orr is retaining an outside expert to help design a strategic restructuring plan for the department, which will include structural, operational and cost changes.

Now that we can put a face to "the outside expert" position Orr referred to, let's take a look at who James Craig is.

As Chief of Police

Craig is a native Detroiter. After three years with the Detroit Police Department, Craig was cut due to downsizing. In 1981, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department, where he remained for 28 years. 

After a two-year stint from 2009-2011 as the Police Chief of Portland, Maine, Craig was selected as the first black Chief of Police in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As the Cincinnati Enquirer's Carrie Whitaker explains in a 2011 story, Craig was the first police chief hired under new, voter-approved rules in the city:

That change allowed the city manager to hire police and fire chiefs form outside those departments, widening future top searches to cities nationwide.

Whitaker's article noted that although Craig was selected over five Cincinnati officers who were in the running for Chief, he wasn't intimidated, and called "for reform, like cutting top-brass positions and ordering a $61,000 independent, top-to-bottom audit of the department last winter."

The changes Cincinnati saw between 2001 and 2011 can't be solely attributed to Craig's work as Chief of Police, but the statistics are pretty impressive.

Overall, crime is at its lowest rate since 2000. Craig can't take full credit; it's been dropping for years. However, he's continuing that trend with fewer officers -- 1,005 at the end of July, 35 fewer than one year before.

Working on a budget and with limited resources is something Craig's used to doing, which may help him in Detroit.

Sara Hulett's report also included a brief outline of Craig's goals for Detroit's police force:

Craig says he also wants to make sure the cops come, period -- and that response times are reasonable. He says making that happen will likely mean reassigning some sworn officers who are currently on desk duty to patrol.

As a guy

In Orr's 45-day update, one of the points he made about the Police Department was that its leadership and morale was low -- two things that needed fixing, and something that Craig has done before.

Hulett reported:

"So 2 o-clock in the morning, someone calls the police, I want to make sure the cop that comes to your door is a happy cop," Craig said.

"So 2 o-clock in the morning, someone calls the police, I want to make sure the cop that comes to your door is a happy cop," Craig said.

In Cincinnati, Craig made himself an active member of the community by going to church services and attending social events. 

He even starred in an ad for the University of Phoenix in Cincinnati, where he received his master's degree in management in 2010.

In a letter from Chief Craig to the Cincinnati Police Department, he expressed his gratitude toward the men and women who he worked with and that he looked forward to living closer to his family.

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom