Hired by Interim Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr.

Fired by Dave Bing.

Official City Biography

Police Chief James R. Barren, Ph.D., is a clear example of what perseverance, confidence and integrity in an individual can bring. Appointed Chief of Police on September 19, 2008, by The Honorable Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., Chief Barren is the 38th person to lead the Detroit Police Department in its 143 year history. Rising up through the ranks of the Department, Chief Barren began his 31-year career with the Detroit Police Department in 1973 at the age of 22. As Chief of Police, he is responsible for managing the 10th largest police department in the nation which consists of more than 3,300 sworn and civilian employees; and an annual budget of over $458 million. Chief Barren is responsible for providing police services to more than 950,000 residents; over 10,000 businesses; and 258 schools in the city of Detroit, which spans 138.7 square miles.

A very accomplished, tactical law enforcement officer, Chief Barren has completed 640 hours in certified training in courses that include Policing Terrorist Incidents and Manager Development, as well as successfully completing intense on-site training with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and United States Secret Service. During his many years of distinguished service with the Detroit Police Department, Chief Barren has led several specialized units including the Detroit Police Strike Force Section, Tactical Services Section, Special Response Team, Mobile Support Section, Aviation Unit and the Mounted Unit. Chief Barren was also in charge of the Department’s Western Operations Bureau, which provided patrol and answered calls for service for the entire western half of the city.

Chief Barren has earned three Master degrees in Education Psychology, Criminal Justice and Counseling at Wayne State University in addition to a Doctorate in Counseling with a cognate in psychology.

Chief Barren’s retired from the military in 2005 after 25 years of service in the United States Army - all while serving in a dual role as a member of Detroit’s Finest. During his military career, he conducted and coordinated training for the Department of Defense, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and various other police organizations in selected training fields of tactical deployment operations.