Greg O’Dell, the chief of police of the University’s Department of Public Safety, announced this morning that he is leaving DPS three months after he took the position to return to his previous job as director of public safety and chief of police at Eastern Michigan University.
O’Dell, who left EMU in August to become the chief of DPS, has resigned effective today. O’Dell will rejoin EMU next month and replace the current interim chief who has served in O’Dell’s place since he left EMU. The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents must approve the hiring before O’Dell can officially return to the position.
O’Dell notified University officials yesterday of his decision to resign, which he said was a “strictly personal decision.”
“I have nothing bad to say about Michigan. I love Michigan and I enjoyed working with the people there,” O’Dell said in an interview with The Michigan Daily today. “I just felt for me personally, it was a better fit for me to return to the job that I had at Eastern.”
He said a major factor in deciding to return to EMU was regaining the ability to continue developing past initiatives and programs he worked on during his three and a half years at the school.
“These are very tough decisions to make, and it did come down to that I thought this would be the right decision for me because I was so invested in the changes that had happened at Eastern.”
Hank Baier, the University’s associate vice president for facilities and operations, said the University regrets having to let O’Dell leave the University.
“I have known Greg for many years, and I am truly sorry to say he came to the decision that U-M was not the right fit for him,” Baier said in a statement.
O’Dell’s new salary at EMU will be $149,000 — $20,000 less than what he made before he left to join DPS, according to an EMU press release. O’Dell’s salary at the University of Michigan was $200,000, according to University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald wrote in an e-mail interview tonight that O’Dell did not break a contract with the University by resigning since he did not have a contract with the University.
DPS Deputy Chief Joe Piersante will take over as interim executive director of DPS, Fitzgerald said in a separate interview. Piersante previously held the role of interim executive director after former DPS Chief of Police Ken Magee took a medical leave of absence last February.
O’Dell joined EMU in 2008 after spending more than 20 years working for the Ann Arbor Police Department.
— Daily News Editor Bethany Biron contributed to this report.