Detroit Police Department

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Detroit Police Department
Abbreviation DPD
Patch of the Detroit Police Department
Detroit Police Department badge.png
Badge of the Detroit Police Department
Flag of the City of Detroit
Motto " Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus."
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Detroit in the u.s. state of Michigan, United States
Wayne County Michigan Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Detroit highlighted.svg
Map of the Detroit Police Department's jurisdiction.
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Detroit Public Safety Headquarters
Officers 2,770[1]
Agency executive James Craig, Chief of Police
Districts Source:[2]
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Detroit Police Department (DPD), established in 1865, is responsible for the city of Detroit, Michigan.


Historic former Detroit Police Headquarters at 1300 Beaubien

As of 2014, the department is composed of twelve precincts.[3] In 1921, the Detroit Police Department became the first police department in the country to utilize radio dispatch in their cars. A historical marker at Belle Isle Park describes the new advancement in technology.[4]

Prior to 1973 female officers were not allowed to work for DPD in the same capacity as men.[5] However, DPD had previously established the Women's Division, launched in 1920, which worked on cases of "child abuse, sexual assaults, juvenile delinquency, and checking establishments for illegal minors."[6]

Fallen officers

The Detroit Police Department has lost eight officers between the years 2000 and 2011. During the 1970s, the department lost 26 officers in a span of ten years. Since 1878, The Detroit Police Department has lost 225 officers in the line of duty.[7] The leading cause of death in the line of duty is gunfire, with a total of 149 officers slain.

Recent history

Ella M. Bully-Cummings was the first woman police chief in department history. During her tenure, she leased a Lincoln Navigator SUV to the Detroit Police motor pool, allowing the Kilpatrick family personal use of the vehicle, in 2005, costing the Police Department a total of $24,995, just under the $25,000 cap that would require approval from city council. On September 4, 2008, Bully-Cummings announced her retirement minutes after Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury.

On Monday May 3, 2010, Officer Brian Huff was shot and killed at approximately 3:30 a.m. after responding to a report of gunshots at a vacant home on Schoenherr Street. Several officers had surrounded the home, which was known to be a drug house, in response to the initial 911 call. When Officer Huff and the other officers who were positioned in the front of the home made entry, they were immediately met with gunfire. Officer Huff was fatally wounded and four other officers suffered non-life-threatening wounds. The suspect was also shot and wounded by the return gunfire. The suspect was sentenced to life in prison without parole on May 5, 2011. Officer Huff had served with the Detroit Police Department for 12 years and was assigned to the Eastern District. He was survived by his wife and 10-year-old son.

On May 16, 2010 while in the process of serving a warrant in search of a suspect, Detroit police allegedly shot and killed a seven-year-old child. There are conflicting statements on the cause of the shooting, officers claim that in a struggle with family members the gun accidentally discharged. Geoffrey Feiger claims that video footage shows the shot coming from an officer on the porch of the house.[8] Aiyana Jones had been sleeping on a couch when police raided her home, released flash grenades and fired shots, one of which entered her skull.[9]

On July 22, 2010 Chief of Police Warren Evans was asked for his resignation from his position at the request of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, citing controversial actions related to the death of Jones on the A&E reality TV show The First 48.[10]

The multimillions in police payouts for legal settlements and jury verdicts continue despite the department being under federal oversight since 2003 for allegations of police brutality and ill treatment of prisoners.

Among the $19.1 million paid in police misconduct-related payouts over three years:

  • $6.7 million was spent on 50 suits for violations of constitutional rights.
  • $2.4 million was spent on two suits for wrongful deaths other than shootings.
  • $1.9 million was spent on 49 suits for assault and battery, false arrest and imprisonment.

On January 23, 2011, Lamar Moore walked into the lobby of the 6th Precinct and open fired with a shotgun, wounding four police officers. Moore was then shot dead by several police officers as he attempted to continue shooting. No clear motivation had been established, although Moore was a suspect in the kidnapping of a thirteen-year-old girl. Footage of the shootout from a CCTV was subsequently released by the Detroit Police Department and became viral on the internet.[11]

On October 8, 2012, Ralph L. Godbee, Jr., the chief of the department, resigned from the force amid allegations of a sex scandal. The allegations were that he engaged in a relationship with a subordinate female police officer.[12]


In 2000, the city requested an investigation by the United States Justice Department into the Detroit Police Department which was concluded in 2003 over allegations regarding its use of force and civil rights violations.[13] Despite the critics, the city proceeded with a major reorganization of the Detroit Police Department; simply put, the city seized the opportunity to trim its budget saving $20,000,000. The department's thirteen precincts were consolidated into six larger districts: central, southwestern, northeastern, eastern, western, and northwestern.

The reorganization has largely been hailed as a failure, with increased response times, higher call volumes, and less reliable patrol coverage. In 2009 in an attempt to rectify these problems Chief James Barren announced a plan to revert to the precinct system, and the Tenth and Twelve Precincts (formerly the Western District) reopened on February 2, 2009.[14]

On March 1, 2011, it was announced that the Detroit Police Department will be reverting to the precinct structure as each of the then-existing districts will be split in two.[15]

As of 2011, the department has 33% fewer sworn officers than in 2001, falling from a force of 4,093 to 2,770.[16]

Relocation of the police headquarters

On June 11, 2010 it was reported that the City of Detroit would acquire the former MGM Grand Detroit temporary casino building (originally the IRS Data Center) on John C. Lodge Freeway for $6.23 million[17] and convert it into the new police headquarters complex which will also house a crime lab operated by the Michigan State Police.[18] The renovated building will also house the Detroit Fire Department headquarters. The former casino building has 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of space. The historic Detroit Police headquarters is in Greektown. On June 28, 2013, the new public safety headquarters opened for business.


The standard issue service pistol of the Detroit Police Department was formerly the .40-caliber Glock 22, but currently is a variant of the Smith & Wesson M&P series in .40 S&W.[19]

Rank structure and insignia

Rank Insignia
New York Fire Department Chief Rank.png
Assistant Chief
4 Gold Stars.svg
Deputy Chief
3 Gold Stars.svg
2 Gold Stars.svg
Major insignia.png
Captain insignia gold.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg
Community Relations Officer LAPD Police Officer-3+1 - Senior Lead Officer.jpg
LAPD Police Officer-3.jpg
Police Officer
Reserve Officer


Year 2000 breakdown of sex and race in the D.P.D.:[20]

  • Male: 75%
  • Female: 25%
  • African-American/Black: 63%
  • White: 34%
  • Hispanic, any race: 3%

The Detroit Police Department has one of the largest percentages of black officers of any major city police department, reflecting current overall city demographics. Lawsuits alleging discrimination stemming from the influence of affirmative action and allegations of race-based promotional bias for executive positions have surfaced repeatedly.[21][22][23] As of 2008, the majority of upper command members in the Detroit PD were black.[24]

In popular culture


  • The Detroit Police Department is featured in the blaxploitation film Detroit 9000 (1973).
  • Detective Axel Foley from the Beverly Hills Cop series (introduced in 1984) is an officer of the Detroit Police Department, and the actor portraying his commanding officer was an actual Detroit police commander, Gil Hill.
  • The Detroit Police Department is featured in the movie RoboCop (1987) and its 2014 remake. In the movies, the department has been privatized and in turn, serves the entire metro area, and is owned by a megacorporation, Omni Consumer Products (renamed OmniCorp in the 2014 remake).
  • The Detroit Police Department is featured in the film Collision Course (1989).
  • The Detroit Police Department is the focus of the Steven Seagal film Exit Wounds (2001).
  • The Detroit Police Department is featured in the film Narc (2002) about two troubled detectives investigating the murder of an undercover cop.
  • The Detroit Police Department plays a major role as the police force featured in the film Assault on Precinct 13 (2005).
  • The Detroit Police Department plays a major role in the film Four Brothers (2005).
  • The Detroit Police Department plays a major role in the film S.W.A.T.: Firefight (2011), featuring Detroit City's S.W.A.T. Team.


  • Although seldom mentioned by name, the Police Force in Millennium City in the MMORPG Champions Online are the Detroit Police Department, as Millennium City was actually formerly Detroit prior to a major event in the lore for the game.
  • The Detroit Police Department is featured in the video game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The protagonist is a former Detroit Police Department SWAT commander and one mission involves infiltrating the department's headquarters.
  • The Detroit Police Department is featured on the video game, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition.


  • Officers from the Detroit Police Department often appear on the Animal Planet reality show Animal Cops: Detroit, to help Michigan Humane Society officers in cases regarding animal abuse and neglect.
  • The Detroit Police Department's Homicide Section was featured in the crime drama Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC. The show was filmed on location in Detroit.
  • The Detroit Police Department is featured in the crime drama Low Winter Sun on AMC. The show was filmed on location in Detroit.
  • The Detroit Police Department has its own edition of the A&E television series SWAT and has also been featured in the series The First 48.
  • The Detroit Police Department frequently apperars on episodes of truTV's Hardcore Pawn. Uniformed officers, and police detectives appear on the show.

See also


  1. Steve Pardp (August 4, 2011). "Detroit Police operation targets illicit drug sales". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2011-08-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Police Stations". Retrieved 2010-09-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Police Dispatch Radio Mich Markers
  5. Former Detroit Police Women's Division honored by City Council Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
  6. ArchiveGrid: Detroit Police Department Women's Division Collection, 1919-1973, 2010. Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
  7. "The Officer Down Memorial Page". Retrieved August 5, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Detroit Police Covered Up How Aiyanna Jones Died During Raid, Says Attorney Geoffrey Feiger". ABC News. May 18, 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Lawyer questions police version of raid that killed girl". CNN. May 17, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Bing said he was 'blindsided' by Evans actions". Detroit News. July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Officers in shooting get an emotional tribute by Christine MacDonald and Leonard N. Fleming actions". Detroit News. February 11, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Muskal, Michael. "Ralph Godbee out: 2nd Detroit police chief sex scandal in a row". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 8, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Quarterly Status Report to the Independent Federal Monitor. Detroit Police Department Retrieved on April 8, 2007.
  14. Lin, Judy and David Joser, (August 30, 2005).Detroit to trim 150 cops, precincts. Detroit News. Retrieved on July 24, 2007.
  16. Steve Pardp (August 4, 2011). "Detroit Police operation targets illicit drug sales". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2011-08-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. New Detroit Police Headquarters (WXYZ-TV YouTube page)
  18. Michigan State Police to run Crime Lab in new DPD HQ Associated Press via MLive July 6, 2010
  19. Smith & Wesson advertisement in Sept. 2010 issue of Tactical Weapons magazine.
  20. Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers Retrieved on November 21, 2012.
  21. Detroit Police Officers Association v. A Young Morgan Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  22. [1] Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  23. Detroit accused of bias against white cops Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  24. 2008 Detroit Police Department Organizational Chart Retrieved November 22, 2012.

External links