Ilitch School names Chief of Detroit Police Department James E. White as 2022 Distinguished Alum

The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business has announced Detroit Police Department (DPD) Chief of Police James E. White as the 2022 recipient of its signature Distinguished Alumni Award.

Established in 1981, the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes graduates of the Mike Ilitch School of Business whose exceptional achievements over a career in business, education or public service have brought honor and distinction to Wayne State’s business school.

White has been with the DPD since January 1996, serving in leadership positions for the majority of his tenure. In 2013, he was appointed assistant chief of the DPD under Chief James E. Craig. The Detroit City Council confirmed White as chief of police on Sept. 21, 2021. Prior to this appointment, he was selected to lead the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and served as a member of Governor Whitmer’s cabinet.

A Detroit native, White is a proud graduate of Wayne County Community College, where he earned his associate of arts in general studies. He went on to earn a bachelor’s in sociology and a minor in psychology from Wayne State University. White later earned an M.S. in counseling from Central Michigan University and became a licensed health counselor. In 2018, he earned a graduate certificate in business through the Mike Ilitch School of Business DPD Leadership Academy.

White is extremely detail-oriented and data-driven. He worked a number of assignments over the course of 26 years in public service, but one of his biggest assignments was spearheading the DPD’s compliance for two federal consent judgments as a commanding officer. This led to him orchestrating oversight and policy-making for the DPD Civil Rights Integrity Bureau. White is also a strong believer in diversity and inclusion. He established a Civilian Advisory Committee to help bridge the gap between civilians and sworn members within the police department.

White is passionate about helping others. In addition to his role in law enforcement, he has become a sought-after speaker for counseling and mental health services throughout the Detroit Metropolitan area. White is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a State Certified Counselor, a counselor with the Northeast Guidance Center, a sitting board member of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) and is involved with numerous additional organizations within the Detroit community.

White will be honored at the Ilitch School’s 42nd annual Recognition and Awards Program on Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Roostertail. The Recognition and Awards Program is also where the Ilitch School celebrates the recipients of its Michigan Executive of the Year, Emerging Leader, Inspirational Teacher and Outstanding Student awards.

For more information on this event or to view past winners, please visit

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