Eastern Michigan University’s SMART team collaborates with the city of Chelsea to reimagine policing

illustration of police and a multi-racial civilian in profile using crumbled paper texture

YPSILANTI – The Southeast Michigan Criminal Justice Policy Research Project (SMART) at Eastern Michigan University is collaborating with the city of Chelsea to reimagine safety and security for community members in Washtenaw County.

SMART comprises criminal justice and public administration experts dedicated to mobilizing EMU’s expertise in serving the broader community and regional needs in criminal justice reform and policy development. An outside audit of Chelsea’s policing practices found that some of their high-risk policies such as training and use of force weren’t aligned with national policing agencies. To help improve policing and collaboration between the department and the citizens of Chelsea, SMART faculty will provide training sessions, community engagement events, and strategic planning sessions.  

EMU Political Science Assistant Professor Shu Wang is the project lead and will help facilitate the communication between SMART and Chelsea and monitor the project's progress. 

“I hope this project can help Chelsea heal from the trauma in 2020 by starting a productive conversation between public safety officers and local residents,” said Wang. “Through this project, I hope they can learn from each other, foster and solidify trust, and create a shared vision for public safety upheld by the community.” 

EMU’s involvement is a continuation of the City of Chelsea’s Community Public Safety Task Force recommendations to engage the community in meaningful dialogue to strengthen relationships and policing. 

The following services will be conducted over the course of one to three years:

● A review of several extensive documents

● Training, orientation, and general preparation of the newly constituted Public Safety

Strategic Planning Group, as well as select City staff, for dealing with difficult conversations and having courageous conversations

● Material and design review as well as meeting facilitation for a series of community

engagement events about the charge, progress, and deliverables produced by the

Public Safety Strategic Planning Group

● Facilitation of a strategic planning process, including key points of policy review, as

identified in the above documents.


Since fall of 2020 SMART has collaborated with community organizations throughout Southeastern Michigan on several sponsored projects, including with the East Dearborn Downtown Development Association, Ann Arbor’s Independent Community Policing Oversight Commission, Ann Arbor Police Department, the Eastern Michigan University Office of the President, EMU Department of Public Safety, and EMU Public Safety Oversight Committee. For more information about SMART visit its webpage

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

June 07, 2023

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher