Chief of Police/Executive Director of Public Safety announcement: Aug. 9, 2021

To the Eastern Michigan University community:

It is my great pleasure to announce that Matthew Lige will be the University’s next Chief of Police/Executive Director of Public Safety, pending approval by the Board of Regents. His start date is Monday, August 23.

Matthew Lige’s commitment to a community-oriented approach to policing and to serving our students, faculty and staff was evident throughout the interview process. At the same time, he understands the deep challenges in trust and accountability that face police officers and departments locally and nationwide, and the importance of building positive collaborations and relationships across campus.

His work at Washtenaw Community College, combined with his 22 years as an officer, sergeant and detective for the Ann Arbor Police Department, and his three years as an officer in the Ypsilanti Police Department, provide an outstanding base of knowledge about our campus and the greater Ypsilanti/Washtenaw community.

Matthew Lige is an Eastern alumnus, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration. He attended Police Chief Executive School at Michigan State University, and participated in Eastern’s Staff and Command Program.

Please join me in acknowledging the fine work of the members of the search committee that guided this process: 

  • Mike Valdes, Chief Financial Officer, Chair
  • Dr. Marilyn Corsianos, Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology Dept. and Faculty Senate Representative
  • Dr. LaMarcus Howard, Director, Disability Resource Center
  • Walter Kraft, Vice President for Communications
  • Lauren London, General Counsel
  • Luis Romero, Student Body President
  • Ofc. Tim Siecinski, Public Safety
  • Sgt. David Shefferly, Public Safety
  • Jeanette Zalba, Director, Housing & Residence Life
  • Casey Wooster, Office of the President (support) 

I also would like to take this opportunity to offer a special tribute to Chief Bob Heighes, who is retiring at the end of September. His public safety career spans 45 years, serving as a deputy sheriff in Baraga County, Michigan from 1977 to 1984, before joining Eastern’s Department of Public Safety for the last 38 years. He started as a patrol officer and then served in ranks with additional responsibilities prior to being named chief in April 2012.

Words don’t come close to capturing what he has meant to me and to the Eastern Michigan University community. He has set an outstanding example of what public safety leadership and engagement should strive to be. I wish him peace, happiness and good health in his retirement.

For additional details, please read the story on EMU Today. 

James Smith, Ph.D.