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MSU police chief involved in Nassar case to retire in 2019

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Michigan State University Police Chief Jim Dunlap, who sparred with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer over the Larry Nassar prosecution, has announced he is retiring next year.

Dunlap, 69, is set to retire effective April 1, 2019, but at the end of this year he will end his role as chief and then serve in "an advisory role to assist the department during the transition to a new chief," according to a news release.

“I’ve had a fantastic career,” Dunlap said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the officers I’ve served with or the work we’ve done.  It’s never easy to leave a place and people that you love, but it’s been 50 years and now is my time.”

Dunlap made news late last year when he said Whitmer, the former interim Ingham County prosecutor, initially hesitated to prosecute Nassar on allegations of sexual misconduct.

The chief said that Whitmer wanted to charge Nassar in a child pornography case that she thought would be "relatively easy to convict on" and said the assault allegations could be "much more difficult to take to trial."

That revelation prompted a flurry of criticism from her Republican opponent, state Attorney General Bill Schuette and a strong denial from Whitmer, who called the charge "patently false."

Whitmer and another top county attorney said Dunlap never brought them police reports that would have allowed her office to decide whether to prosecute the assault cases.

After joining MSU’s department in 1969, Dunlap graduated from the Michigan State Police Basic Police Academy in 1970. In 1973, he was promoted to sergeant and to lieutenant in 1979.

He became a captain in 1984 and was named deputy chief in charge of the police bureau in 1987. He served as assistant chief from 1999 until his selection as chief in 2002.

“I can’t praise Chief Dunlap enough for the work he’s done,” said MSU Interim President John Engler. “When I started in February I immediately recognized that he is an incredible leader and whose judgment and guidance was invaluable.

"Jim is also a visionary. He’s spent nearly 20 years innovating and modernizing the police department, building relationships and partnerships and, above all, keeping our community safe," Engler said. "MSU will miss Chief Dunlap but we will never forget his extraordinary service.”

MSU officials said a search to replace the chief will begin in October.

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