Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New police chief promotes open communication

Maintaining an open relationship with the public is important to newly appointed U-M Chief of Police Gregory O'Dell.

That's why he plans to host weekly community crime meetings to allow the public to share its concerns with the Department of Public Safety.

  U-M Chief of Police Gregory O'Dell is interviewed during a meeting with local media. (Photo by Austin Thomason, U-M Photo Services)

"I think it's really important to run an open police department," said O'Dell, who on his seventh day on the job met with local media Tuesday.

The weekly community crime meetings will alternate locations on a monthly basis and provide an opportunity for two-way communication, he said.

O'Dell, who previously served as chief of police and executive director of public safety at Eastern Michigan University, said he's "thrilled" with his new job at U-M.

"I was very happy at Eastern. There was only one job I would have left Eastern for, and it's this job here," said O'Dell, who began his appointment Aug. 22. "I love U of M."

The transition to working at U-M was a busy one, with many issues waiting for O'Dell, including an ongoing investigation of several sexual assaults near campus. The chief said his department has implemented a risk reduction strategy, including meeting with incoming students and their parents.

Other efforts include working closely with area police agencies, adjusting officers' hours to concentrate on the area of the assaults and increasing foot patrols.

An increase in uniformed officers on the street "is vitally important," he said.

Prior to joining EMU, O'Dell held a series of progressively responsible positions over 20 years within the Ann Arbor Police Department, including deputy chief and interim chief of police.

"I know the campus," O'Dell says of his years working with Ann Arbor police. He and his wife also have lived in Ann Arbor for more than 20 years.

O'Dell, who also serves as executive director of the Department of Public Safety, holds a juris doctorate degree from the University of Toledo College of Law, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and the EMU school for police staff and command.