Ike McKinnon

Ike McKinnon

Formal First Name
Isaiah (Ike)
6/21/1943 - present

Isaiah McKinnon is a retired Chief of Police at the Detroit Police Department. He began his career in public service as an officer with the DPD in 1965. During his tenure at the department, he has held more than 10 different positions, including various supervisory, administrative, command, and executive roles. McKinnon left policing in 1998 and became a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. He was then appointed Deputy Mayor of Detroit in 2014 and served two years before returning to teach as a Professor of Education at UDM.


  • McKinnon served in the United States Air Force from 1961 to 1965.
  • He attended basic training in Texas and was initially assigned to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, where he spent three years.
  • He then served overseas in the Philippines and Vietnam for his last year in the military.


  • McKinnon joined the Detroit Police Force in 1965 and became one of less than 100 African American officers on the force. 
  • He was the “poster officer” for a campaign to help recruit more minorities to the department.
  • He led initiatives in the police force such as teaching officers basic Spanish to communicate better with Hispanic Americans and laid the groundwork for a gun buy-back program.
  • He worked at the department until 1984 and returned in 1993 to serve as Chief. 
  • Under his five years of leadership, hundreds of police officers were directed to go into city neighborhoods and introduce themselves to residents in an effort to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.
  • In addition to shifting the focus of the department to community-driven policing, he advocated for and implemented training programs for officers responding to domestic violence. 


  • McKinnon has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah, and The History Channel.
  • He is an educational and motivational speaker on various subjects, including Police Procedure and Training.


  • McKinnon is a black belt karate expert and winner of several Police Olympics gold medals in track events. 
  • He is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy and the U.S. Secret Service School.