With more than 38 years experience in law enforcement, Benny N. Napoleon considers his role as the Sheriff of Wayne County as his most important assignment to date. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office is the second largest law enforcement agency in Michigan, with more than 900 officers among its ranks. In addition to providing safe and secure jail bed space for inmates in the judicial process, the department also secures the county courts, patrols county parks, conducts marine and road patrols and warrant enforcement. Many of these programs serve as blueprints for excellence and are mirrored by other jurisdictions.
The Sheriff’s goal is to make Wayne County and all of its communities as safe as possible. To that end, Sheriff Napoleon seeks out partnerships whenever possible with other law enforcement agencies and the public to help make that happen.
Under Sheriff Napoleon’s leadership, the agency hopes not only to maintain the current programs at the highest levels, but to enhance additional protocols so that all of the stakeholders served by the Wayne County Sheriff enjoy the highest quality of life possible.
Benny N. Napoleon, J.D. | Wayne County Sheriff
Benny N. Napoleon was educated in the Detroit Public School system and graduated from Cass Technical High School. He joined the Detroit Police Department in 1975 as a trainee police officer and was admitted to the Detroit Police Academy in June of 1975. He served the Detroit Police Department in many patrol, investigative, undercover and administrative capacities. He began his career walking a beat in the Second (Vernor) Precinct. He quickly rose through the ranks of the police department, being promoted to sergeant in 1983; to lieutenant in 1985; to inspector in 1987; to commander in 1993; to deputy chief in 1994; to assistant chief in 1995; and was appointed Chief of Police by the Honorable Mayor Dennis W. Archer in 1998.
After more than 26 years of distinguished service, Chief Napoleon retired from the Detroit Police Department in 2001. In 2004, Napoleon was named Assistant Wayne County Executive to help facilitate the administration of the nation’s 13th largest county. Napoleon served in that role until his appointment as Wayne County Sheriff in July 2009. In 2010, Napoleon won the general election by a landslide to retain the position. He went on to win re-election with 74 percent of the vote to solidify his current four-year term.
Some of the highlights of his law enforcement career include supervising the investigation that led to the successful apprehension and prosecution of the parties responsible for the felonious assault on international figure skating champion, Nancy Kerrigan; supervising the investigation that led to the swift apprehension of ten (10) escapees from the Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit; and drafting and implementing a crime reduction plan which led to an unprecedented thirty percent (30%) reduction in violent crime in the City of Detroit during his three (3) year tenure as Chief of Police.
Napoleon earned his Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement, Cum Laude, from Mercy College of Detroit in 1980; his B.A. in Criminal Justice, Cum Laude, from Mercy College of Detroit in 1982; and his Juris Doctor Degree from Michigan State University College of Law in 1986. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy; the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection School; the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command; the Aresty Institute of Executive Development at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education in which he was awarded a certificate of completion for the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program, July 2011. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan and has been licensed to practice law since 1987.
Napoleon is a life member of the NAACP, an attorney with a private legal practice and 33rd Degree Mason, Prince Hall Affiliate. An academic at heart, the Sheriff thoroughly enjoyed serving as an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix (Detroit Campus) for several years. His community service includes spending time as a baseball coach for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Michigan; a basketball coach for the Detroit Police Athletic League; a student mentor for the Detroit Public Schools; and chairing the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. Napoleon has been honored with a wide array of professional and community service awards, which are too numerous to list. He is the proud parent of one daughter who has completed her Master of Arts program at the University of Michigan.