Duggan selects James White as the next Detroit police chief

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Interim Detroit Police Chief James White. - CITY OF DETROIT
  • City of Detroit
  • Interim Detroit Police Chief James White.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced Monday that he’s appointing James White, a longtime Detroit cop who became director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights last year, to serve as the city’s next permanent police chief.

The Detroit City Council has 30 days to approve the appointment.



White was among three finalists for the job. The other two were Ann Arbor Police Chief Michael Cox and Robert Dunlap, chief of courts and jails for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

“I interviewed all three, any one of whom would have been very qualified,” Duggan said at a news conference.



White had been serving as interim police chief since June 1. He replaces James Craig, who retired in May and plans to run for governor as a Republican.

The Detroit Board of Detroit of Police Commissioners received applications from 44 candidates and interviewed nine of them. As required by the city charter, the board provided the mayor with a list of the top three candidates.

White was born and raised in Detroit and rose through the ranks of the police department soon after graduating from high school. He became one of the city’s youngest sergeants and later received a sociology degree from Wayne State University. He also earned a masters of science in counseling from Central Michigan University and became a licensed mental health counselor.

Before becoming the director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, White was an assistant police chief in Detroit.

A year after national protests sparked widespread calls for police reform, White said it’s a critical time to build trust in the community.

“You can hold officers accountable, but you can supporting policing,” White said. “This community deserves excellence in policing.”

Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, commended White and said he looks forward to working with police on issues that are important to residents.

“We can have safety and security at the same time,” Anthony said. “We can respect the police, and the police can respect the community.”

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