DPD Chief James Craig not a certified police officer

DPD Chief James Craig not a certified police officer

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"One suspect jumped out and began running towards me." That's how Detroit Police Chief James Craig recalls an incident this past week in which he believes he was almost carjacked. "As soon as I saw the suspect running up to the car I just accelerated out of harm's way. Then, candidly, I got angry. I got angry, I just can't believe what just was about to happen. So here I'm fighting carjacking ... and I'm gonna get carjacked," he laughs.

But some people are critical, asking why didn't the chief pursue and arrest the men?

One answer that's coming out now is that the chief is not a police officer - he does not have police officer certification. He did back in the day with DPD when he started his career, but that certification has since lapsed.

"You don't want a police chief that when you come up to him, and need someone arrested or some help, say, 'I'm sorry I can't do it,'" says David Malhalab. He is a retired sergeant who served DPD for 23 years. He believes a police chief should be certified. "This is a city with one of the most violent crime statistics in the nation, and you want your police chief to be certified; you want him to be able to make arrests; you want him to be able to carry a gun."

The Detroit city charter does not require, or mandate, that the chief be a certified police officer. The Detroit board of police commissioners interviewed Craig before he was hired. Board member Jessica Taylor tell Fox 2's Ron Savage the board knew he was not a certified officer.

Detroit has had several chiefs who were not certified officers over the years, such as Chief Jerry Oliver. He took the state test and failed.

Craig was certified after he graduated from the Detroit Police Academy, but when he moved out of state the certification expired.

Malhalab says the chief should make it a priority to renew his certification, and he points out the attempted carjacking as an example. "If he thought he was the subject of a carjacking, if he wasn't in a position where he was safe then he should've gotten [in] one and then called for backup. I mean, he's the chief of police. Every police officer in the city would've responded from every far corners of the city if the chief called for help," Malhalab says.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr hired Craig.

Orr's office released this statement:

"Chief Craig is a decorated law enforcement officer with more than 30 years on the job. He's completely qualified to be chief in Detroit."
-Bill Nowling, a spokesperson for Kevyn Orr

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