Chief Chris Magnus started his public safety career in 1979 as a dispatcher with the City of Lansing. He was also a paramedic in the mid-Michigan area for close to a decade. During this same time he realized he wanted to make the transition to becoming a police officer. After attending the Lansing Community College Police Academy, he became a deputy sheriff at the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department. In 1985, he became a police officer with the Lansing Police Department where he spent the next 15 years of his law enforcement career. In 1999, Chief Magnus became the police chief in Fargo, North Dakota, where he played a key role in implementing the first two-state regional dispatch system in the nation, a forensic children’s interview center, and a refugee liaison program for the area’s many new immigrants and refugees.
In 2006, Chris Magnus was selected as police chief for Richmond, California—a highly diverse, urban community of 115,000 residents in the San Francisco Bay Area. He served as chief for 10 years. During that time he was significantly involved in strengthening ties between the community and its police force, addressing historically high levels of crime, and implementing reforms within the police department. Both violent and property crime decreased significantly during Magnus’ tenure and community support for the Richmond Police Department substantially improved.
Chris Magnus was appointed to be the police chief for the City of Tucson, Arizona in January of 2016. In this position, he is continuing his commitment to improve services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, addressing community corrections issues, focusing on how police respond to people suffering with mental illness, and supporting a myriad of youth programs and activities.
In 2015, Magnus testified before the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing on best practice models of community policing. The Chief also serves as an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice, working closely with both the Civil Rights Division and the COPS Office on policing issues in various cities around the country.
Chief Magnus has a Master’s degree in Labor Relations and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University. He attended the “Senior Executives in State & Local Government” program at the Harvard Kennedy School.