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James White nominated as Detroit's permanent police chief

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has appointed interim Chief James White to permanently head the Detroit Police Department.

Despite the city conducting a nationwide search for a new chief, Duggan admitted the pick was “the worst-kept secret in town.” White was widely considered the front-runner for the job—he had a lengthy career with Detroit Police, including as a longtime assistant chief. He stepped into his current role as interim chief after briefly leading the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. White replacced James Craig, who retired to explore a runfor Michigan governor.

White said he’s committed to good policing, but acknowledged that the causes of crime can be complex, and wants “stat-driven” solutions.

I want to look at, what can we do? Are we doing absolutely everything we can to impact crime, recognizing that everybody can't be arrested, everybody can't go to prison, and that's going to solve your crime problem?” White said during a press conference Monday.

White said he believes the Detroit Police Department has built strong relationships with the community, and that “we are on the right path to eradicating some of this violence that we're seeing [in the city].” He promised to bring a balanced approach to policing.

And certainly two things can be true at once: You can hold officers accountable, but you can support good policing,” White said. “And our community deserves excellence in policing.”

The Detroit City Council has 30 days to approve or disapprove White’s nomination as Chief.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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