Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Detroit police commissioners are now majority female

Detroit Board of Police Commissioners | Official Seal

Women’s History Month became especially historic in Detroit this year with the new composition of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. For the first time in its 45-year history, a combination of elected and appointed female police commissioners totaled six. This makes women the majority on this 11-member oversight board.

“As the civilian oversight board for the Detroit Police Department, one of our goals for the department’s workforce, as well as the Board itself, is to reflect the demographics of the City of Detroit. This is why the current number of women serving on the Board is historic and truly special,” explained Lisa Carter, the immediate past chair who is in her second term as police commissioner for District 6.

“Still, it is important to remember that each police commissioner comes to the Board with a strong dedication for the important work of ensuring our city has the most professional, responsive, effective, and diverse police department,” Carter added. “We all work together towards that end.”

The BOPC was destined to become majority female last fall when Mayor Mike Duggan named women to fill two vacancies. In addition to Carter, the female police commissioners are:
  • Elizabeth “Betty” Brooks, who was appointed in 2015 as one of four at-large members;
  • Shirley Burch, who was elected in 2017 to represent District 3;
  • Eva Garza Dewaelsche, who was appointed in 2015 to serve at-large;
  • Evette Griffie, who was appointed to fill a vacancy for District 2 and began serving in December 2018. The seat became vacant when DMC Executive Conrad Mallett, a former at-large BOPC member who won the district election in 2017, resigned for professional reasons in October 2018; and 
  • Annie Holt, who was appointed to fill an at-large vacancy and began serving at the end of February 2019.
The other five members of the board are Darryl D. Brown of District 1 and who serves as vice chair; Willie E. Bell, from District 4, who serves as chair; Willie E. Burton representing District 5; William M. Davis who represents Warrendale and the rest of District 7, and Jim Holley, At-Large.

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