The Intersection: Wayne State Police Chief On Keeping Campus Safe Through Decades of Change

Tony Holt, the police chief at Wayne State University, has been working in law enforcement in the city for 40 years. He’s worked in Detroit through the most turbulent decades this region has seen, and during waves of national dialogue about the relationship between police and community.

Holt joins Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to talk about how the department’s approach has changed over the years, as well as the benefits and challenges of policing a relatively small community within a large city. He stressed the importance of having a police force that reflects its community.

It’s not just African American officers in terms of diversity in the police department. We also have a large Middle Eastern population, and that’s reflected in the police force,” says Holt.

Holt notes that public perception has played a big tole in the department’s approach over the years.

Perception is huge,” he says. ”If you’re living in neighborhoods, data (that shows reduced crime in recent year) doesn’t mean much. It’s not what you’re seeing.”

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio link above.

Original air date: May 13th, 2016

Image credit: Wayne State University

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



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