DETROIT (WXYZ) — After a 5-3 vote by a board of commissioners, Detroit Police Assistant Police Chief James White was chosen to lead the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. He says it’s a job he’s ready to take on.
“I want to look at standards for each police agency on implicit bias. Also, training that relates to body cameras,” says White.
After a year-long search and review of 7 candidates, the board made the decision. White believes his experience in helping lead the police department will make him well suited for the challenges to come.
He says, “We were under 2 consent judgments since 2003 for force and confinement. We were able to get out by implementing policy, practice, and changing culture of the organization.”
For instance, in the 6th precinct, he also helped address racism when white officers were caught mocking an African American girl on Snapchat.
Those officers were eventually fired.
“No one wants a bad cop. No one dislikes a bad cop more than a good cop,” says White.
But not all are convinced White is the best fit for the job.
Detroit NAACP leader Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony says the director should be a person who has spent their career advocating for equality.
“Obviously there will be a whole lot of cases, they’ve got cases now that involve police across the state. How do you hit the ground running when you ain’t been running in civil rights?” says Anthony.
Pastor Mo an advocate for better relations between community and police in the city is also weighing in.
He says, “Because someone was a cop don’t mean they are good or bad. So, it’s not about the position it’s about the person.”
White plans to retire from DPD amd will begin his new job in about 30 days. It’s a full-time cabinet position reporting to the governor.