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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

University of Michigan Names Its First Ever Black Woman Police Chief

Crystal James

Nationwide — Meet Crystal James, who was appointed as the new police chief at the University of Michigan. She steps into the role as the first Black person to lead the police force on the Ann Arbor campus and the first woman chief across all three university campuses.

Since 2023, James has been serving as interim chief, and now officially steps into the position. With prior experience as the deputy chief on the Dearborn campus, James brings a wealth of expertise to her new role.

“I am honored to take on this responsibility,” James said, according to Click on Detroit. “And I have a deep sense of pride. It is a privilege to lead our police and security teams. They are professional, well trained, and understand the importance of service.”

Her responsibilities extend beyond traditional policing to include oversight of university housing and museum security, as well as crime prevention initiatives.

Moreover, James emphasized her commitment to both safety and community engagement. She plans to connect with students, commuters, and healthcare workers to foster relationships and ensure a safe environment for all.

Originally from Sanford, Florida, and raised in Detroit, James credits her family, especially her mother, for instilling values of hard work and public service. After graduating from Central Michigan University, James pursued a career change inspired by her husband, who is a police officer.

After graduating from the Detroit Metropolitan Police Academy in 1989, she joined the Detroit Police Department. In 1992, she became part of the University of Michigan’s police force, making her the second Black woman officer to join the department.

With her new role, James aims to strengthen ties between law enforcement and the university community.

“Ensuring the safety of our campus community is paramount,” she said. “It is not merely a duty; it is fostering an environment where the campus community feels safe.”