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Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Eastern Michigan University appoints Robert Heighes police chief

By Cindy Heflin

Robert Heighes, who has been serving as interim police chief at Eastern Michigan University since December, was named to the permanent post Thursday.

Heighes, 57, is a 28-year veteran of the department and served three stints as interim chief. His appointment as police chief and executive director of public safety is effective Friday and is subject to approval by the EMU regents. Heighes will make $128,000 per year.


Robert Heighes

EMU photo

“This is a very important position for Eastern Michigan, and we feel strongly that Bob Heighes will continue the excellent work he’s done in overseeing our public safety efforts,” Roy Wilbanks, chairman of the EMU Board of Regents, said in a news release. “EMU is a special place, and Bob, who is an EMU alumnus, knows it so well. He has an exceptional history here in a variety of law enforcement roles.”

“I care a great deal about EMU and the welfare of our students and employees," Heighes said. “I am proud and honored to be selected.”

EMU President Susan Martin praised the decision.

“I am delighted with the selection of Bob Heighes as our chief of police,” she said. “Bob knows and loves the campus, and our police force team has done great work.”

EMU conducted a national search for the position and named five finalists, including Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker.

Heighes was appointed interim chief after the suicide of police Chief Greg O’Dell in December. Heighes made $120,000 as interim chief. O’Dell made $149,000.



Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 10:28 a.m.

This is a superior choice. Lt. Heighes is well known and respected on the campus community, puts in countless hours and knows the difference between campus and municipal policing. People may not have heard much about him because it is hard for him to begin any sentence with "I," "me," or "my." He is committed to training and development and has recently completed intensive training courses, using his own money to fund.

Michael Armitage

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 5:36 a.m.

EMU made a great choice! Congrats Chief Heighes!


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

Congratulations. Worked with Bob 25 years ago when he was an officer. One of the good guys who obviously knows the EMU community. Too often this position has served as some outsiders retirement gig. Since Chief Heighes made EMU his career he clearly has his heart in this job.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

I don't mean to be a cynic, but hiring a guy, or gal, from within, who has taken this position in the past makes me wonder how much passion the hiring comittee has. Who were the other candidates?

Cindy Heflin

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Here's a link to an article from last month naming the five finalists:


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

Oh, you mean there is more detail to this story somewhere else? Whodathunk.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

This was in the Eastern Echo: EMU has five candidates for its chief of police, including Ypsilanti chief Amy Walker; current EMU interim chief Bob Heighes; Daniel Pfannes, undersheriff for Wayne County; Mark Reiss, chief of police in Riverside, Ohio; and Scott Pavlik, the police chief of Warren.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

Congratulations Chief!!. You earned it. I don't know why municipalities and universities waste money and resources when there are qualified candidates in-house.

Christopher Marshall

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.



Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

How about a little more information about his experience?