April 26, 2007



EAST LANSING, MI – Detroit Chief of Police Ella M. Bully-Cummings, a 1998 graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, will present the Law College’s commencement address Sunday, May 13.

Bully-Cummings will speak to the graduates and their guests at noon in the Wharton Center for Performing Arts on the MSU campus. She will also be awarded an honorary doctor of law degree to be conferred during the ceremony.

Also during the ceremony, Lansing attorney and MSU Law Trustee Richard Wiener, a 1976 graduate, will receive the Honorable George N. Bashara Distinguished Alumni Award. John Chamberlain, alumni association president-elect and a 1991 graduate will present the award. The Law College’s president, Clifton E. Haley, a 1961 graduate, and the college’s Acting Dean Cliff Thompson will preside over the commencement exercises.

Bully-Cummings is the first woman police chief for the Detroit Police Department in its 138-year history.  She was appointed by Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and has been a member of the department since 1977.

Under her leadership, in 2004, the Detroit Police Department realized the greatest reduction in major crimes in 41 years, and a record reduction of 15.2 percent in violent crimes. Chief Bully-Cummings attributes this success to having a committed police force and an engaged community-through police interaction, and implementing innovative crime reduction strategies. Chief Bully-Cummings states that holding her command staff accountable greatly increased the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. During her tenure, the Department reduced overtime use by 40 percent, totaling $8 million in savings.

In 2005, Chief Bully-Cummings reduced the number of police lawsuits filed involving police chases by 25 percent-by changing the Department’s chase policy; reduced the number of on-duty police accidents by 24 percent; completed construction of a new state of the art communications center; acquired the 800MHz radios, which are department-issued to each officer; reduced bank robberies by 49 percent; increased narcotic confiscations by 121 percent with a street value increase of 60 percent; and implemented the department’s first Spanish Speaking Academy to enlighten the Hispanic community on the operations of the police department. Additionally, when faced with a $113 million budget reduction that included the layoff of 150 police officers, Chief Bully-Cummings implemented a restructuring plan, which merged 12 precincts into 6 districts, increased the number of police officers on patrol from 64 percent to 71 percent through the merger and reallocating officers from desk/administrative functions, and, concurrently, increased the number of police officers available to answer calls for service from 73 percent to 90 percent.

Bully-Cummings earned a bachelor’s degree from Madonna University. She completed a Juris Doctor degree cum laude at Michigan State University College of Law in 1998.

MSU College of Law was in founded in 1891 and is a private institution of higher learning devoted exclusively to professional education in law.  The Law College is one of only a few private law schools to be affiliated with a research university, enabling it to provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary legal education program.  Classes offered in its state-of-the-art facilities provide students the benefits of a Big Ten campus while maintaining the small school culture.  Its 2006 graduates achieved a 93 percent bar examination passage rate nationwide and the Law College’s Intellectual Property and Communications Law Program falls in the nation’s top-20 according to U.S. News & World Report.  The Law College is one of the oldest continuously operating independent law colleges in the nation.  For more information about the Law College, visit


320B Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824