DETROIT – Detroit police Chief James Craig announced his retirement during a news conference Monday after heading the department for eight years.
With June marking 44 years in law enforcement, Craig called the retirement “bittersweet.” He is set to retire on June 1, and says his decision to retire is voluntary.
Craig also said that the best part of his career has been here in the city of Detroit.
“I’m leaving a good place,” Craig said. “I love this city and I love this state.”
Watch the entire press conference in the video above.
Rumors of Craig’s retirement began circulating on Friday and continued through the weekend, alongside news that the chief of police is considering a future in politics. Sources say Craig is considering running for governor of Michigan on the Republican Party ticket.
GOP sources have confirmed that Craig has met with several Republican donors amid rumors of his run for governor.
Craig said Monday that he has not made a decision about a potential political future. He said he will decide in the weeks following his retirement and when a decision has been made he will let the public know.
“I have not made that decision. I am not ruling it out. There’s an appropriate time and I will get past this and then I will come out with a decision,” Craig said. “I am deeply passionate for public service.”
He wants to pursue something that will allow him to continue to serve the public while in a leadership role.
Craig did confirm Monday that he is a Republican, and said he has identified as a Republican for more than 10 years. He said many people already knew this about him, including some members of his team.
“As a police chief, I serve everyone and that’s what’s important to say,” Craig said.
Craig has served as the chief of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) since 2013, when he was appointed by Emergency Manager Kevin Orr. He is the longest running DPD chief since Chief Bill Hart.
Chief Craig was raised in Detroit and began his career in the city in 1977. When DPD experienced a downsize, Craig joined the Los Angeles police force and worked there for nearly 30 years.
Before becoming the head of DPD, Craig served as chief of the Portland Police Department in Maine for two years, and then as chief of the Cincinnati Police Department for two years.
Craig said until his final day in office is finished, his focus and efforts will be to continue to lead the department and to work closely with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as the city looks for its next chief of police.
Craig said he is proud of how his department handled the protests last summer, saying “we didn’t retreat, the city did not burn and we are a model for the country.”
He said he is also proud of the Real Time Crime Center, Greenlight Detroit (an idea he said started on a napkin), how transparent they were with the issues at the 6th precinct and Operation Clean Sweep.
“We have a great team,” Craig said. “The department will be in great hands.”
Duggan spoke at the press conference and thanked Craig for his service.
“Chief Craig brought professionalism to the department and it has been very well run. We’ve had the chance to rebuild officer salaries, quality facilities over time ... the culture of neighborhood policing ... has made this city a better place,” Duggan said.