Col. Joseph Gasper became the 19th Director of the Michigan State Police on January 1, 2019. As Director, Colonel Gasper also serves as State Director of Emergency Management and as Michigan’s Homeland Security Director.
Colonel Gasper was raised in Newaygo, Michigan where he graduated from Newaygo High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Northern Michigan University.
Colonel Gasper joined the Michigan State Police in August 1998, and upon recruit school graduation he was assigned to the Negaunee Post in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. During his first five years in the department, he spent time working as a uniform trooper at the post and on undercover details with the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET).
In 2004, Colonel Gasper was promoted to sergeant with the Executive Protection Unit, where he served on Governor Jennifer Granholm’s security detail for two years before taking a transfer to the Grand Haven Post as a detective sergeant. In early 2010, Colonel Gasper was promoted to lieutenant with the Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET) in Battle Creek, before being promoted again later that year to first lieutenant in charge of the Executive Protection Section.
In 2013, Colonel Gasper was promoted to captain and put in charge of the newly created State Executive Security Division. In 2015, Colonel Gasper’s division became part of the Special Operations Division (SOD). As commander of the SOD, Colonel Gasper was responsible for the department’s specialty teams including the Emergency Support Team, Canine Unit, Aviation Unit, Bomb Squad, Marine Services Unit, Traffic Reconstruction Unit, Executive Protection Unit, and the State Security Operations Section.
In 2016, Colonel Gasper was elected to serve as the Vice President of the Midwest Region for the National Governors Security Association. He also represents the MSP on the Michigan Aeronautics Commission.