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Benny Napoleon Wiki

                  Benny Napoleon Biography

Benny Napoleon was a well-known and loved Wayne County Sheriff who died of complications from COVID-19 after years of service in and around Detroit.

He died at age 65 on Thursday, December 17, 2020, after battling coronavirus for about a month, his family told the Detroit Free Press and other media outlets.

Napoleon was a Detroit native who served as a Detroit police officer for more than two decades before becoming a Wayne County Sheriff in 2009, according to his online profile.


1. Napoleon had a daughter who asked everyone to remember his “generosity, integrity, and faithfulness.”

Napoleon had a daughter, Tiffani Jackson, who told the media via text message that her father had died at Henry Ford Hospital. In the text, sent to the Detroit Free Press and other publications, he thanked the community for her prayers and asked that the prayers continue. He also asked the community to remember his father and his dedication as a public servant.

“Remember his generosity, integrity and faithfulness as a public servant for more than 45 years,” he said. “Remember how kind he was to everyone he came in contact with and how much he loved his family.”

In addition to his daughter, Napoleon is survived by his mother, who is 84, and four siblings, including a brother, Highland Park Police Chief Hilton Napoleon, who was hospitalized for more than two months with the coronavirus, Detroit reported. Free Press.

2. Napoleon was a Detroit Police Officer for 26 years and served as a Sheriff for more than a decade

Napoleon entered public service in 1975 as an apprentice with the Detroit Police Department and entered the city’s police academy the same year, according to his Wayne County sheriff profile. He walked a bit in the second district (Vernor) and rose through the ranks. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1983, Lieutenant in 1985, Inspector in 1987, Commander in 1993, Deputy Chief in 1994 and Deputy Chief in 1995. He was appointed Chief of Police by the Honorable Mayor Dennis W. Archer in 1998.

With the police department, he served in patrol, investigative, undercover and administrative roles. He retired in 2001 after 26 years of service, according to his profile. In 2004, he was appointed Assistant Wayne County Executive. Napoleon was appointed to fill a vacancy as Wayne County Sheriff in June 2009, then won the election with a “landslide” victory. He was re-elected for four-year terms in the following years and obtained 74% of the vote for his current term. Napoleon was also a lawyer in private practice, says his profile.

His profile says:

Napoleon is a life member of the NAACP, an attorney in private practice, and a 33rd degree Mason, a Prince Hall affiliate. An academic at heart, the Sheriff greatly 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 Boys and Girls Clubs of Michigan; basketball coach for the Detroit Police Athletic League; a student mentor for the Detroit Public Schools; and chair the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. Napoleon has been honored with a wide range of professional and community service awards, which are too numerous to list. He is the proud father of a daughter who is completing her Master of Arts program at the University of Michigan.

3. Napoleon announced he had COVID-19 in November and said he had minor symptoms

Symptoms of the coronavirus started slowly for Napoleon and increased rapidly, according to the Detroit Free Press. He was tested for the coronavirus on November 13, 2020, which came back negative, and then took another test on November 17, which came back positive. He announced that he had COVID-19 on November 19.

“Right now I have a slight headache and slight chills,” he said in the ad.

Jackson told the publication that his symptoms had progressed the next day and he was admitted to the hospital. On November 27 he was placed on a fan. His family believed he was getting better and he posted a positive update online on December 13.

4. Two deputies and a commander of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department died from coronavirus prior to Napoleon’s death.

Napoleon was the fourth person within the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office to die from complications from COVID-19, the Detroit Free Press reported. Before Napoleon’s death, the department lost a commander and two deputies. Others within the department were also infected and survived.

Napoleon’s brother, a police officer, also contracted a serious case of coronavirus, the news outlet reported.

In an interview with the newspaper in October, Napoleon said it was “indefensible” for people to refuse to wear masks. He said the issue should not be politicized, adding that the government has the authority to demand that people wear masks.

5. Napoleon was remembered by other community leaders who described him as a close friend

News of Napoleon’s death spread quickly on social media, prompting an avalanche of condolences from other public officials who remembered him as a friend.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote on Facebook:

I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of my friend and colleague, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. I have long admired his work in the department and it was an honor to have the opportunity to partner with him as a colleague. Benny was loved by many in the Wayne County community and throughout the state. We enjoyed a close relationship from the moment I took office, including feverishly teaming up last spring to bring the much needed PPE to his department to protect his aides, whom he loved so much. I could always count on Benny for his support, input, and cooperation. He was a wonderful man and his passing is a loss not only to his family but also to his many friends and co-workers. Benny had a long life to live; our community has once again lost someone larger than life to this terrible pandemic. My heart goes out to Benny’s family. It was an honor and a privilege to call him my sheriff.

Ralph Lloyd Godbee Jr., who was the Chief of Police for the Detroit Public School Community District, wrote of his admiration for Napoleon. He shared a photo of himself with Napoleon on Facebook.

He wrote:

This day was everything. Benny Napoleon was someone he idolized when he was a young police officer. Once I became Chief and followed in his footsteps; and share with me how proud he was of me; That meant the world to me Benny gave me advice that I have always tried to use as a leader; he said “Boss, take care of your people and your people will take care of you.” When boss Benny Napoleon called me “boss”, he was beside me. Rest well my friend; mentor and brother. Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued a statement regarding his passing.

She said:

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sheriff Napoleon and to learn that we have lost another giant in the Detroit community to the coronavirus. As we mourn his passing, I am grateful for his grace, kindness, and steadfast commitment to serving and protecting the citizens of Wayne County and Detroit. As his family, like many across the state and nation, mourns the passing of a loved one this season, we are reminded once again of the importance of staying home, being safe, and wearing a mask.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist wrote:

Sheriff Benny Napoleon showed me and many others the way.

His passing is a great loss to the city of Detroit, Wayne County, and the entire state of Michigan. Benny was a mainstay in the community, a model public servant who led by example through conscientious words and selfless service. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Sheriff Napoleon stood firm on the front lines alongside members of his department to ensure that our community had what it needed to overcome this crisis together. He was a progressive ally and champion for changing the justice system to better serve society. And he offered himself as a mentor at every opportunity, so that young leaders, like me, can be, believe, and become ourselves. The loss of Benny hits the soul hard for many people in Southeast Michigan who had the opportunity to connect with him during his decades of service, and his legacy makes our lives better because of his presence. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in power.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office lowered its flag to honor Napoleon, which they described as a “heartbreaking task” performed with “extreme sadness” in a statement provided to 97.9 WJLB.

He said:

While he was tough on crime, he was loved throughout the region for his compassion, faith, and deep sense of community. He was a true leader in every sense of work, known for announcing to the families of new recruits that if the families promised to take care of them at home, he would take care of them at work!

Sadly, he was diagnosed with Covid 19 in November and he struggled hard to recover. A prayer vigil led by his daughter, Tiffani Jackson, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Corps drew widespread prayer and support from across the community and across the country. Jackson says his family recognizes the great amount of support they have received as they remember the man everyone loved so much … During this difficult time, we ask that you support family, loved ones, friends, colleagues and Sheriff Napoleon’s WCSO in his thoughts and prayers.

About the author


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