Detroit Police Department

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Detroit Police Department
Patch of the Detroit Police Department
Patch of the Detroit Police Department
Badge of the Detroit Police Department
Badge of the Detroit Police Department
Agency overview
Formed1865; 157 years ago (1865)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionDetroit, Michigan, United States
Wayne County Michigan Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Detroit highlighted.svg
Map of Detroit Police Department's jurisdiction
Operational structure
HeadquartersDetroit Public Safety Headquarters
Agency executive
  • James White, Chief of Police
  • Downtown Services
  • 2nd Precinct
  • 3rd Precinct
  • 4th Precinct
  • 5th Precinct
  • 6th Precinct
  • 7th Precinct
  • 8th Precinct
  • 9th Precinct
  • 10th Precinct
  • 11th Precinct
  • 12th Precinct

The Detroit Police Department (DPD) is a municipal police force based in and responsible for the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan.


Historic former Detroit Police Headquarters at 1300 Beaubien


Town constables were appointed starting in 1801. A Police Commission was established in 1861 but the first forty officers did not begin work until 1865.[2][3]

Technological innovations[edit]

In 1921, the Detroit Police Department became the first police department in the country to utilize radio dispatch in their patrol cars.[4] A historical marker at Belle Isle Park describes the new advancement in technology.[4]

Role of women and minorities[edit]

In 1893, the department hired its first female officer (Marie Owen) and its first black officer (L T Toliver).[2] The Detroit Police Department established a Women's Division in 1921 that was tasked with cases of "child abuse, sexual assaults, juvenile delinquency, and checking establishments for illegal minors."[5] Female officers were not allowed to work on criminal cases unless accompanied by male officers until 1973, after a series of discrimination lawsuits prompted changes in department policy.[6]

Corruption charges[edit]

In February 1940, Mayor Richard Reading, the Superintendent of Police, the county sheriff and over a hundred more were indicted on corruption charges. The Mayor was accused of selling promotions in the department. Eighty officers were accused of protecting illegal gambling operations in the city. In the end, the Mayor served three years in jail, ending in 1947.[7]

Federal oversight[edit]

In 2000, the Detroit Free Press published a series of articles after a four-month investigation into fatal shootings by Detroit police officers.[8] At the time, Detroit had the highest rate of police-involved shootings of any large city in the United States, surpassing New York, Los Angeles, and Houston.[8] The city requested an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into the department's handling of deadly force incidents.[8] By 2001, the Justice Department's investigation had uncovered issues with the department's arrest and detention practices as well.[8] Between 2003 and 2014, the Detroit Police Department was placed under federal court oversight by the Justice Department as the result of allegations about excessive force, illegal arrests and improper detention.[9] This process cost the city of Detroit more than $50 million.[9] By 2014, the department's use of force had been "seriously reduced" and the U.S. District Judge overseeing the case stated that the Detroit Police Department had "met its obligations" for reforms.[10]

Patrol geography changes[edit]

In 2005, the department's thirteen precincts were consolidated into six larger districts as a cost-cutting measure.[11] The department restored a number of precincts in 2009 after citizens complained about the change.[11] In 2011, it was announced that the Detroit Police Department would be reverting to the original precinct structure, with officials citing "gap[s] in services" and concerns over the new command structure.[11]

Headquarters relocation[edit]

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[12] and convert it into a new police headquarters complex which would also house a crime lab operated by the Michigan State Police.[13] The renovated building also houses the Detroit Fire Department headquarters.[citation needed] The former casino building has 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of space.[citation needed] The historic Detroit Police headquarters is in Greektown.[citation needed] On June 28, 2013, the new public safety headquarters opened for business.[citation needed]

Fallen officers[edit]

Since 1878, the Detroit Police Department has lost 228 officers in the line of duty.[14]

2020 coronavirus pandemic[edit]

As the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus continues to spread around the United States, several Detroit Police officers tested positive for being infected with the COVID-19 virus, and over 200 more were quarantined to prevent further spread of the virus in the Detroit metro area. Several infected people in the Detroit metro area had already succumbed to the virus and died after it was first discovered in the counties Detroit and its suburbs were located in. The Detroit Police suffered its first casualty to the virus with the death of a 38-year-old civilian dispatcher.

Rank structure and insignia[edit]

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
Captain insignia gold.svg
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sergeant Rank Chevrons.svg
LAPD Detective-1.jpg
Neighborhood police officer LAPD Police Officer-3+1 - Senior Lead Officer.jpg
LAPD Police Officer-3.jpg
Police officer
Reserve officer


Year 2013 breakdown of gender and ethnic minorities in the DPD.:[15][a]

  • Male: 75%
  • Female: 25%
  • African-American or Black: 63%
  • White: 33%
  • Hispanic, any race: 4%
  • Asian: 0.4%

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.[16][17][18] As of 2008, the majority of upper command members in the Detroit PD were Black.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Does not equal 100 percent due to rounding.


  1. ^ "Police Stations". Archived from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Detroit Police Department". Encyclopedia of Detroit. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  3. ^ Hunter, George (February 26, 2015). "Detroit Police Department marks its 150th anniversary". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Police Dispatch Radio Archived December 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Mich Markers
  5. ^ ArchiveGrid: Detroit Police Department Women's Division Collection, 1919-1973, 2010. Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Former Detroit Police Women's Division honored by City Council Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Austin, Dan (August 29, 2014). "Meet the 5 worst mayors in Detroit history". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d "Report of the Independent Monitor for the Detroit Police Department" (PDF).
  9. ^ a b "Court oversight of Detroit Police Department cost city $50 million, chief says". Crain's Detroit Business. April 1, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "Detroit police finally rid of federal oversight". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Explaining the Detroit Police's Return to Precincts". Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  12. ^ New Detroit Police Headquarters (WXYZ-TV YouTube page)
  13. ^ Michigan State Police to run Crime Lab in new DPD HQ Associated Press via MLive July 6, 2010
  14. ^ "The Officer Down Memorial Page". Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  15. ^ "Police Department Race and Ethnicity Demographic Data". August 27, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  16. ^ Detroit Police Officers Association v. A Young Morgan Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  18. ^ Detroit accused of bias against white cops Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  19. ^ 2008 Detroit Police Department Organizational Chart Archived May 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved November 22, 2012.

External links[edit]