Greg O’Dell, a widely respected local law enforcement officer who most recently served as Eastern Michigan University’s chief of police, was found dead today of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 54.
According to the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office, police were contacted this morning after a family member found what appeared to be a suicide note at O’Dell’s Ann Arbor home. His vehicle was found in the 3000 block of Huron River Drive in Scio Township at about 12:30 p.m., and his body was found in the area nearby.
O’Dell had a long tenure in local law enforcement, spending the majority of his career in the Ann Arbor police department. He joined EMU in February 2008 as chief of police and executive director of public safety, but in August 2011 took a job as the University of Michigan’s executive director for the Department of Public Safety and chief of police. After four months in that role, he abruptly resigned to return to EMU in the same position he’d previously held there.
In a statement issued by EMU, president Susan Martin stated: ”We are profoundly shocked and saddened by this news. Chief Greg O’Dell’s death is an enormous loss to Eastern Michigan University and the Washtenaw County area. Chief O’Dell was wonderful man who was deeply admired for his tremendous contributions to the Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan communities. He was respected both as a caring person and as a highly accomplished police officer. He was a beloved and key member of the leadership team of Eastern and I will personally deeply miss him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this very difficult time.”
O’Dell held a juris doctorate degree from the University of Toledo College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from EMU. He was also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the EMU school for police staff and command.