New DPD Space Will Honor Benny Napoleon

The City of Detroit will rename a Detroit Police Department building on Oakman Boulevard near Focus Hope after former Chief of Police and Wayne County Sheriff, Benny Napoleon, who passed away in December 2020 after a battle with COVID-19.

Mayor Mike Duggan and Chief James Craig, along with Council President Brenda Jones and members of Napoleon’s family, today announced the plans to name the DPD building at 1200 Oakman Boulevard the Benny N. Napoleon Intelligence and Training Center, in recognition of Napoleon’s legendary work with Detroit’s Gang Unit and his personal commitment to officer training.

The building, which the City purchased last year from Focus Hope for $1 million, currently houses DPD’s Organized Crime and Gang Intelligence Units.  A second building on the site will be renovated into a state-of-the-art training facility for officers to develop and sharpen their skills. Another portion of the building will be used to store records DPD has gathered over the years.

“Benny Napoleon made an impact on our city and in law enforcement that few will ever match,” said Mayor Duggan. “While his experience was vast, it was always major crimes – particularly gang-related criminal activity – that he most sought to affect throughout his career at DPD and as Sheriff.  Now, future generations of DPD officers will be reminded of his legacy, his contributions to the community, and his commitment to this work every time they step into this building.”

Napoleon served the community at DPD from 1975 until 2001 when he retired as Chief of Police. He served as Sheriff from 2009 until his death in December of 2020.   Following his graduation from Cass Technical High School in 1975, Napoleon was recruited to the police academy during Mayor Coleman A. Young’s drive to diversify DPD. He was quickly identified as a promising leader, rapidly rising as the youngest to achieve each rank, including an inspector, commander, deputy chief of police, and chief of police at the age of 43.

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