Feb 13, 2024 - News

Why Chris Bailey decided to become IMPD's chief

IMPD Chief Chris Bailey speaks.

New IMPD chief Chris Bailey speaks as Mayor Joe Hogsett, assistant chief Catherine Cummings and assistant chief Michael Wolley look on. Photo: Justin L. Mack/Axios

New IMPD chief Chris Bailey, a 25-year department veteran, has shed "acting" from his title, thanks in part to advice from his teenage daughter.

Why it matters: Bailey's swearing-in on Monday marked the beginning of a new era for IMPD's command staff as it takes on rising youth violence, staffing challenges and continued calls for greater transparency.

  • Catherine Cummings and Michael Wolley were also named the department's new assistant chiefs.

The irony: The news came as a surprise to many, because Bailey, who was appointed interim chief last month, previously asked Mayor Joe Hogsett to take his name out of the running for the full-time job.

  • At the time, Bailey told Axios he wanted to be present in the lives of his three children.

What happened: During his swearing-in ceremony, Bailey explained his change of heart came after a discussion with his 15-year-old daughter during a family road trip.

  • "I explained my reasons for declining that opportunity, and she — in her best Gen Z way — told me I was wrong," Bailey said, fighting off tears as he turned to his family and told the story.
  • "Wise beyond her years, she reminded me that the best way I can show up for her as a parent is to show up for my whole community."

The big picture: Bailey said Monday it's now full steam ahead on a number of tasks assigned to him by the mayor when he was tapped to be acting chief.

Flashback: Bailey is IMPD's first new leader in four years, following the retirement of former chief Randal Taylor, who led the department through the pandemic.

  • "Through it all, chief Taylor has been a model of calm leadership and civility," Hogsett said at Monday's ceremony.

Meanwhile, new assistant chief Cummings will oversee the execution of IMPD's first strategic plan and oversee a community engagement bureau, recruitment and retention efforts and a new IMPD office of technology.

Parting shot: "I love this city. This is my home, and there is no place that I'd rather be," Bailey said Monday.


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