CINCINNATI — Cincinnati’s police chief said today he is leaving after less than two years to take over the police department in his hometown of Detroit.
A “very excited” Chief James Craig announced he was accepting the Detroit job after days of reports that he was ready to become chief of the department where he got his start in 1977. Craig came here in August 2011 as Cincinnati’s first black police chief and the first to be hired from outside.
“When I look at the city of Detroit, I’m biased,” said Craig, who has parents and other family there. “It’s home, and it’s a great city.”
Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. said Craig’s resignation is effective June 22. The city said a national search would be launched, with Executive Assistant Chief Paul Humphries serving as interim chief.
Craig also served in Los Angeles and in Portland, Maine. A spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department declined to comment immediately today.
He quickly developed a reputation for being visible in the community, including Monday evening when he was at a softball game wearing a Detroit Tigers baseball cap.
Craig said he had tried to reflect more contemporary policing practices by making changes to the traditionally more rigid police culture, including by maintaining an open-door policy for his roughly 1,000 Cincinnati officers and easing rules about officers’ attire and work schedules.
Craig moved from Detroit in 1981 to the Los Angeles Police Department, where his 28 years of experience included serving during the 1992 riots that began after four officers were acquitted of nearly all charges in the videotaped beating of Rodney King.
In Maine, Craig led a police department of about 200 officers from 2009 until he took over in Cincinnati.
“I am certainly no stranger to the complexities of larger municipalities,” Craig told The Associated Press when he was chosen for the Cincinnati job.
Craig is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and holds master’s degree in management and public administration.