Robert Neumann, the newly appointed chief of police for the University of Michigan Police Department, is no rookie.
Neumann, who first began his time on campus in 1982, the year he graduated from high school, has worked his way up the ranks to assume this position.
“I was fortunate because I realized that before I graduated from high school,” Neumann said, “From the beginning, I knew what I wanted to do.”
Previously a University Police lieutenant, Neumann was appointed as the new chief of police for UMPD in February 2013 after serving for the department since 1985. Neumann was chosen from a pool of over 150 applicants.
After UMPD’s creation in 1990, Neumann was one of the original eight sworn in to serve, including five officers, two sergeants and one captain.
After seeing the management styles of a variety of leaders over the years, Neumann said he hopes to run an efficient department that focuses on participation and involvement from all levels. He said that there needs to be a hierarchical system at times, but added that he wants to avoid an autocratic style and focus on including all levels of the department.
“Culture of everybody feeling valued and included is what I strive for,” Neumann said.
Even though Neumann is now the chief of police, he said he never envisioned this opportunity when he first began to follow his passion.
“It was not one of my aspirations necessarily to be a police chief,” Neumann said. “My big goal was to serve in the capacity I was serving and do the best that I can do.”
Although Neumann is still new to the job, he said that his experience in the community and campus and his relationships with colleagues in the police force may have set him apart from other candidates and will help him in his new job.
In 1982, Neumann worked with State Security Services, a contract guard service that was a security unit for buildings on campus. Neumann was promoted to lieutenant of the guard service and worked continuously on campus until the Department of Public Safety hired him in January 1985.
Once with the Department of Public Safety, Neumann worked with Michigan State Police through The Explorer Program, which provided citizens with an interest in law enforcement the opportunity to ride along with police officers.
Neumann said that this program influenced him to become a police officer.
“It really solidified my interest in law enforcement as a career,” Neumann said.
After being sworn into the police force in 1990, he was promoted a sergeant in 1992, serving in the position until 1999, where Neumann’s duties included being a shift supervisor and an investigator in the investigations bureau. From 1999 to February 2014, Neumann worked as a lieutenant, where he worked as a shift commander and supervisor in charge of the criminal investigations unit from 2004 to 2009.
In 2009, Neumann graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy and was in charge of control operations at UMPD. In February 2012, Neumann went back to being a supervisor in charge of the criminal investigations unit.
Eddie Washington, Jr., the executive director of the Division of Public Safety and Security, said he is confident in Neumann’s qualifications for the position.
“Chief Neumann has a proven record of building extensive relationships across the University as well as within our Division and with many local and federal agencies,” Washington said. “These effective relationships, along with Bob’s loyalty and commitment to the U-M students, faculty and staff, will continue to benefit our campus community with Bob leading our law enforcement service delivery. I’m very excited to have Bob join our public safety and security management team.”