An opening for the top law enforcement job in Ecorse has attracted a nationally recognized and experienced officer.
Joseph Thomas Jr., who served as police chief in Southfield from 1999-2011, and has been chief in Muskegon Heights since 2016, officially became the new chief after a contract agreement was negotiated and accepted Tuesday.
The Ecorse City Council voted 4-1 in favor of selecting Thomas to lead the department, with only Mayor Lamar Tidwell voting against the move.
City Administrator Richard Marsh said Michael Moore’s contract as police chief with the city expired in December.
He said Moore has been working under a month-to-month contract and the city is working on a transition plan.
Thomas is looking forward to making Ecorse his new career destination.
“Policing is a partnership between those whom we protect — residents and business — and those sworn to protect and serve,” Thomas said. “It is incumbent upon both parties to make such a commitment that results in a safer and more engaged community.”
One of many reasons city officials were attracted to Thomas was due to him being a strong advocate of community policing — not as a slogan, but as a mindset — which he said has motivated him to build bridges with the communities he’s served while reducing crime.
Many are applauding the selection, including Marsh.
“We are thrilled to bring aboard, as our new police chief, someone with the success and stature as Joseph Thomas,” Marsh said. “He will be an indispensable part of our team at City Hall as we move ahead rebuilding Ecorse as a great place to work, play and raise a family.”
Thomas comes with established work as a consultant with police departments and public safety agencies throughout the country and abroad — including in Iraq, Italy and with the Palestinian Authority. That work has earned Thomas a global reputation.
During his tenure in Southfield, Thomas led and developed the department’s personnel and programs.
His achievements resulted in Thomas landing in several national news publications.
While with Muskegon Heights, he developed the plan and successfully implemented the community-based group Gaining Unity through Nonviolent Solutions or G.U.N.S. that resulted in reductions of gun violence in the city of Muskegon Heights and Muskegon County.
Under his leadership, the International Association of Chiefs of Police selected the Muskegon Heights Police Department as the “2020 Leadership in Community Policing-Small Agency Award Winner.”
While there, Thomas also implemented body camera technology that resulted in the department being featured in the Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C.
Officials there said his reorganization of the department reduced crime and criminal activities against property by more than 30%.
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