Peter C. Munoz '78, turns interest in law enforcement into fulfilling career protecting citizens of Michigan
Although he originally intended to earn a degree in business administration, it only took a few criminal justice courses at the University of Detroit to hook Peter C. Munoz ’78, on law enforcement. It turns out this decision would impact the state of Michigan in a significant way as Munoz is now the sixteenth director of the Michigan State Police (MSP), leading an agency of approximately 2,700 employees with a total budget of $569 million.
“When I joined the agency, I never imagined I would be sitting in this chair (as director of the MSP),” says Colonel Munoz. “It was an honor to be selected by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm (in May 2006).”
Munoz is a member of the governor’s cabinet and works closely with her office to enhance the goals of the state. On a daily basis, Munoz and the MSP uphold the law and provide services including traffic enforcement, criminal investigation, forensic analysis, emergency management, criminal record keeping and criminal justice information technology systems.
One area of importance includes his responsibility for homeland security. Munoz coordinates statewide homeland security efforts among all 12 emergency management disciplines, which include firefighters, emergency medial service, cyber security, and public safety communications. Additionally, he works on emergency planning with the 19 state agencies, such as the Department of Community Health, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Information Technology.
Munoz explains that the MSP Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division coordinates training exercises involving federal, state and local partners to prepare for natural and man-made disasters.
“Beyond practicing emergency responses, the exercises are beneficial in bringing together people from different areas and disciplines who will work as a team during an emergency,” says Munoz. “The MSP also assists our state and local partners in obtaining homeland security grants from the federal government.”
Munoz credits his colleagues for understanding the value of teamwork across agencies as it ensures a safer state, especially since Michigan is a border state with three international crossings.
“Michigan is fortunate to have public safety first-responders and emergency management officials who recognize the need to work together in preparing and responding to emergencies,” says Munoz. “The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit is the busiest border crossing for commercial motor vehicles in the world.”
Munoz encourages Michigan citizens to protect themselves and suggests that families develop an emergency plan complete with a supply kit and the knowledge of how to react during different types of emergencies. He also reminds citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to local authorities.
Munoz refers to the MSP as Michigan’s safety net. It’s a term he uses to describe how the MSP mobilizes to any area of the state to assist local law enforcement. Governor Granholm believes that Munoz is the perfect person to manage that net.
“With nearly 30 years on the job at MSP, Peter brings invaluable experience and expertise to his role as director,” says Governor Granholm. “His dedication to Michigan and to ensuring the safety of Michigan families makes him an excellent fit for this position.”
Proud to be a Trooper
Munoz enlisted with the department in 1978 as a member of the 95th Trooper Recruit School. Some of his previous jobs include serving as captain and district commander with the First District Headquarters, serving as the EEO/Affirmative Action officer, serving as commander of the Adrian Post, and as a sergeant in the Governor’s Security Section.
He most recently held the position of deputy director of the Field Services Bureau. He says the scope of his current position encompasses more than any other position he has held since his role now impacts the entire agency rather than one specific area.
Munoz says his career has many highlights, and he is proudest about calling himself a Michigan State Trooper.
“I feel very fortunate for the career I’ve had with the Michigan State Police,” says Munoz. “I never regretted my decision.”
The citizens of Michigan have Munoz’s parents to thank, for it was their advice that kept Munoz on the path to becoming a leader who would one day earn the respect of a Michigan governor.
“My parents not only stressed the importance of a good education,” says Munoz, “but also that your career should be in a field you enjoy.”