Wayne County Sheriff and 2013 Detroit Mayoral Candidate Benny Napoleon made a visit to the #WCHB studio to speak with Angelo Henderson about his run for Mayor of Detroit. Some critics saying “how can Benny be a sheriff and run for mayor?”, Well, take a listen to what he had to say on #YourVoice, just click the player below.
Born and raised in Detroit, Benny Napoleon learned the values of hard work and education from his father. With only an eighth grade education, Benny’s father, Harry, moved north from Tennessee as a young man seeking a good-paying job in the auto industry. While working full-time, Harry built and pastored a church on Detroit’s Eastside, and would take Benny to night school with him every evening until Harry earned his high school diploma. As a lifelong Detroiter and the son of a prominent pastor, Benny lived by honesty, integrity and service to his community, characteristics that would shape his life and career.
Just graduated from high school and working at Sibley’s Shoes, Benny was recruited to the police academy in 1975 during Mayor Coleman A. Young’s drive to diversify Detroit’s police force. He was quickly identified as a promising leader, rapidly rising through the ranks of the Detroit Police Department (DPD), as one of the youngest ever of each rank. As he rose through the ranks during the day, Benny attended Mercy College of Detroit full-time at night, earning his undergraduate and law degrees. In 1995, at the age of 43, Benny was appointed Chief of Police, the youngest in Detroit history and the youngest of any major U.S. city. He would be responsible for more than 4,000 employees and over a $450 million budget, the largest in city government.
Over his 38-year career of public service in Detroit, Benny has served with integrity and tenacity. As Chief of Police, Benny developed and executed an unprecedented restructuring plan that led to a 30 percent reduction in violent crime at a time when major crimes appeared to be spiraling out of control. He had a “no tolerance policy” for corruption, emphasized by his move to call on the FBI to conduct an independent investigation on his own officers when drugs mysteriously disappeared from the police evidence room. That investigation led to the arrest and conviction of all DPD personnel involved. And when the community questioned incidents of police shootings of civilians, he partnered again with federal authorities for another independent investigation. Each of the incidents was later found to be justified.
In 2001, Benny retired from DPD to join the largest African American owned real-estate firm in America – Capri Capital – as executive vice president of business development and outreach for Capri’s multi-family housing sector. Here, Benny gained a first-hand understanding of the myriad challenges faced by businesses doing work and bringing development to a major city like Detroit.
In 2004, Benny was appointed Assistant Wayne County Executive, responsible for government relations, labor relations, and homeland security. In this role, Benny was responsible for establishing and sustaining working relationships with county commissioners, other elected officials, and labor organizations in order to move the county’s agenda. During his tenure, Benny was also responsible for securing federal grants for local homeland security preparedness in Wayne County. Benny led efforts, working with 42 cities within the county, to make first responder communications inter-operable in case of a security threat.
Benny was appointed Wayne County Sheriff in 2009, retained in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. As Sheriff, Benny has been continually forced to do more with less funding. He restructured the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office to reduce operational costs by $30 million without compromising public safety. The cost-cutting measures include restructuring the absentee job pool to slash critical overtime expenses and expanding the tether program for non-violent offenders from 50 inmates to as many as 600. The tether program was expanded as a cost-saving measure and to combat the fact that the Wayne County Commission historically funds the county jail at 40% of the actual funds it costs to house 2,800 inmates. Further, Benny led a crackdown on burglaries in two Detroit neighborhoods through the SCOUT program that partners law enforcement with residents. And, Benny is recognized nationally as a leader in pursuing Internet crimes.
While Detroit is traversing some of most troubling times in history, Detroit’s potential is more palpable than ever. Benny’s vision for a better Detroit is rooted in his years of management, public service, and consensus building around Detroit’s most pressing issues.
His unprecedented coalition of community, clergy, labor and elected leaders in and around Detroit support his campaign and are committed to Benny’s vision for the city, which includes: revitalizing Detroit’s neighborhoods; delivering services that are core to the city; streamlining the city‘s development portfolio to become a one-stop-shop for business development; ushering into Detroit an unparalleled economic expansion that provides jobs for citizens and opens Detroit’s arms to new residents and new business who will want to call Detroit their new home. Benny recognizes that none of this is possible until Detroit is safe – and his ability to reduce crime and create an environment of safety and security to the city is unmatched.
LIKE WCHB On Facebook To Keep Up With The Latest Breaking News!
Follow the host of #YourVoice on Twitter @angelohenderson
Follow #WCHB on Twitter @am1200wchb