Detroit police chief announces retirement

FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2019, file photo, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, left, speaks to the media at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in Detroit. Craig has scheduled a news conference Monday May 10, 2021, to announce his retirement as head of Detroit's police department and to possibly discuss his future plans which could include a run for political office. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police Chief James Craig announced Monday that he will retire as head of the city’s police force, but he did not immediately reveal his future plans, which could include a run for political office.

Craig, who has had the longest tenure of any recent Detroit police chief, said his retirement is effective June 1 and is voluntary.

The Detroit native was hired in 2013 by an emergency manager after the state assumed control of the financially broken city. Craig, who is Black, immediately set out to restore residents’ confidence in the Detroit Police Department, which had a history of civil rights abuses by officers against the city’s mostly Black population.

Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters that Craig has “brought professionalism to the department.”

“I tried to convince him to stay, but I couldn’t persuade him. He gave eight good years of service and I wanted to be here to say, ‘Thank you,'” Duggan said at the news conference where Craig announced his retirement.

Some Republicans have said they hope Craig challenges Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022. Craig said he is a Republican but that he has not made a decision about seeking political office.

“I’m not ruling it out,” he added.

Detroit has had about a dozen police chiefs since the early 1990s and five in the previous five years before Craig was hired. Several were forced out amid allegations of wrongdoing.

Before taking the Detroit job, Craig was Cincinnati’s chief starting in 2011 after being hired in 2009 to lead the Portland, Maine, Police Department. Craig served 28 years in Los Angeles after starting his police career as an officer in Detroit in 1977.


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