Celebration of Good Police Work Turned Bittersweet

Celebration of Good Police Work Turned Bittersweet

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, May 15, 2012 ed.)

When fourteen police from four different departments got awards at Monday night’s City Council meeting, the honors came with disappointing news. Seven of the honored officers, all from Oak Park, had been laid off and could not come to accept their awards.

The awards being given  were Unit Commendations from the Ferndale Police Department for the officers’ roles in apprehending a criminal.  According to the Award Recommendation, on Jan. 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm, officers responded to a breaking and entering of a business at the Ardmore Party Store.  Ferndale, Oak Park, Southfield and Pleasant Ridge Officers tracked the suspect for two hours before taking him into custody.

“Oak Park PD responded to an attempt B&E of a party store in their city when Ferndale PD dispatched cars to an audible burglary [alarm] three blocks away.  Upon arrival Sgt. Brown found a bag and some money lying on the ground.  As Officers arrived an extended perimeter was set up and K9 Smith started a track.

“The track started north from the store.  Officer Cleveland and Officer Smith found clothing, what appeared to be a large amount of blood and a full bag of alcohol and cigarettes from the store in a backyard north of the store.  Officers from four different agencies worked together for almost two hours in the rain and cold to maintain a perimeter and track the suspect’s bloody footprints in the snow.

“During the 12 block track west of the original location, Officers found additional evidence along the way.  The track slowed down around Majestic where Officer Cleveland found the same “bloody footprints” leading up to 23061 Majestic.  At the same time Oak Park officers stopped a taxi cab and the driver admitted he was in the area to pick up a fare and the address he gave was 23061 Majestic.  Officer made contact with the resident who said an unknown man was inside his home and the suspect was taken into custody.

“Due to the actions of all the officers involved, the teamwork of the surrounding agencies, and the immediate, professional response by officers, a habitual offender and parolee Cornelius Maddox was taken into custody and removed from the streets.”

The following officers were recognized with Unit Commendations:  Sgt. Brown (Ferndale), Officer Cleveland (Ferndale), Officer Lenke (Ferndale), Officer Brugnoli (Ferndale), Officer Szymanski (Ferndale), Officer Ashley Smith (K9 Southfield), Officer Kevin Nowak (Pleasant Ridge), Sgt. James Ginopolis (Oak Park), Officer Mike Edwards (Oak Park), Officer James Seger (Oak Park), Officer Lauren Tanner (Oak Park), and Officer Jon Lences (Oak Park).

In his presentation Collins noted that the footprints were not blood, but that his shoes were leaking red dye.  At the end of the meeting, during Call To Council, he said he was “thrown for a loop” at the news of the Oak Park layoffs, and he remembered to share details of the burglar’s past.  Collins said that Maddox, now 43, had a “history back to 1986 that included robbery, weapons charges, two B&Es, criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13, he was a parole violator and had several warrants out for his arrest, obstruction and jailbreak.”

The MDOC website states that Maddox’s earliest release date is 10/22/2014, or he could stay locked up until as late as 07/17/2064.

Collins expressed his disappointment in not being able to present the awards to the laid-off Oak Park Officers, saying “I hope things get better for them.”

Mayor Dave Coulter put his feelings out on Facebook the next day, stating “Sign of the times: we issued special commendation awards at the Council meeting last night for the brave action of 14 police officers from four cities working together to catch an armed robber, only to discover the seven officers from Oak Park were all laid off last month due to budget cuts. Sad.”

Channel 7 Action News reported on the layoffs in Oak Park.  To watch their report go to http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/oakland_county/oak-park-laying-off-a-dozen-public-safety-officers-while-preparing-to-build-new-municipal-building.

To watch this or other City Council meetings, go to The City of Ferndale website http://www.ferndale-mi.com.




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