As the first woman to run the Detroit Police Department, Ella Bully-Cummings says that e hard line on discipline established by her predecessor will reamin and that she’ll still demand accountability of cops, reports the Detroit Free Press. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick named Bully-Cummings, 46, chief last night.
Bully-Cummings replaces Jerry Oliver, who quit Friday after he became the focus of a criminal investigation by Wayne County prosecutors. The charges stem from an Oct. 18 incident in which federal authorities found a loaded handgun in his checked baggage at Detroit Metro Airport. Oliver, 56, was charged Monday with a misdemeanor count of possession of an unlicensed handgun, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
The Free Press says that Oliver’s resignation brought public celebrations in the precincts Friday night and caused officers to tear his picture off the walls and slap high-fives. Bully-Cummings cautioned the rank and file that it was Oliver who convinced her to leave a law practice and return to the department where she served more than 20 years. She became an assistant chief in May 2002.
Even the president of the Detroit Police Officers Association, who was constantly at odds with Oliver during his 21-month tenure, seemed to welcome Bully-Cummings. “We hope that someone who has risen through the ranks of the department, as she has, will have the sensitivity to better understand the needs of our officers and the struggles they face in protecting and serving the citizens of Detroit,” said Marty Bandemer.
The department is under two court-mandated consent decrees from the U.S. Department of Justice to reform its lethal-force policies and prisoner treatment.