Tim Plancon: 2021 Wall of Fame Inductee

July 26, 2022

Tim Plancon recently retired as the Assistant Administrator, Chief of Operational Support for the US Drug Enforcement Administration and is an inductee into the 2021 Criminal Justice Wall of Fame.

Photo of Tim PlanconTim Plancon was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan with four siblings. To stay out of trouble, he delivered The Detroit Free Press to homes on foot starting at age 11, working two jobs at age 13, and played multiple organized sports from a very young age until he left for college.

Growing up in a family with a history of attending Michigan State University, and a sister already attending MSU, choosing to be a Spartan was an easy decision. Although deciding where to go to college was easy, deciding what to study was not. After exploring multiple possibilities, one day something clicked; Tim realized he wanted to have a career in law enforcement.

This led to joining the School of Criminal Justice to pursue his newfound career path. As a student at MSU, he played intramural hockey, softball, and worked at the MSU Bookstore. At the bookstore, he started stuffing envelopes for store marketing and worked his way up to running their security team.

Upon graduation from MSU, it was difficult to find policing jobs due to the state of the economy and restricted budgets. To fill the gap between graduating and putting himself through the Washtenaw Police Academy, Tim worked construction and transported patients for a mental health hospital.

After completing the academy, he joined the Ferndale Police Department, becoming a jack of all trades patrolman while also a SWAT team member, Field Training Officer, and an Evidence Technician. After four years, Tim left the Ferndale Police Department to pursue a career with the DEA.

Joining the DEA had been a longtime goal. He believed in the mission, and meeting several agents as a policeman only reinforced Tim’s commitment to joining the agency. Tim’s career with the DEA has taken him all over the world while stationed in Quantico, New York City, Washington DC, Ohio, and Detroit, where he ultimately served as the Special Agent in Charge for all DEA operations overseeing Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. He recently retired as the Assistant Administrator, Chief of Operational Support at DEA Headquarters located in Arlington, Virginia. As the Assistant Administrator, Tim oversaw all DEA operational support offices and programs globally, including the agency’s air assets and pilots, forensic laboratories, environmental management, cyber investigative support, and the enterprise’s investigative technologies.

Photo of Tim Plancon and his father in Charlevoix MichiganOne of his fondest memories of Michigan State University is the professors he encountered as a student. Their array of views, opinions, beliefs, and ideas exposed him to different ways of thinking, and opened his mind to new possibilities. Tim’s advice to current students and recent alumni is to remember how some decisions they make now can impact them for the rest of their life. He recommends finding hobbies and passions to develop a strong work-life balance.

Tim also reiterates that to be good at law enforcement, you must learn to be compassionate, and be able to think critically. Developing patience – something he says you need to consistently work at – will help future law enforcement officers excel at their jobs. Broadened life experiences help tremendously in order to appropriately apply discretion and fairness as a law enforcement professional.

Following his own healthy work-life balance advice, Tim is a level 5 hockey coach and enjoys spending as much time possible with his wife, Erin and four children, Brenden, Kayla, Elise and Brigit.