Royal Oak Police officer charged with possession, distribution of child pornography

AG Criminal Division files charges after images were found on officer's personal computer during internet task force investigation


LANSING – A Royal Oak Police Officer has charged for the alleged possession and distribution of child pornography. 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said it is alleged that Michael Smith, 41, downloaded and possessed child pornography on his personal home computer between September 2011 through January 2012.

Smith allegedly distributed some pornographic images to other users through a public Internet file-sharing network. 

Smith resigned from the Royal Oak police force in January. He was a 12-year veteran and has no criminal record.

"I wouldn't call him a predator. I wouldn't call him a predator at all. I would say he's been accused of things that supposedly happened in the privacy of his home," said Smith's defense attorney, Frank Manley. "And I still believe he would be the one charging to save a child in a burning building."

Manley said Smith has two children of his own.

At this arraignment, Smith pleaded not-guilty. He was released on $5,000 bond.

"Even though they are images, this is a heinous crime, there are victims involved here," said Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue. "Mike Smith should be charged to the fullest extent of the law."

What led to the criminal charges

The charges result from an investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).  The Michigan ICAC Task Force is part of a nationwide partnership of law enforcement agencies with the mission of protecting children online and holding offenders accountable.  This particular case involved the Department of Attorney General, the Michigan State Police and members of the Flint area ICAC task force. 

The images were discovered through an online investigation by the Flint Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), which utilizes sophisticated technology to identify alleged purveyors of child pornography in Michigan.  The Flint area ICAC Task Force members include: Flint Police Department, Grand Blanc Township Police Department, Michigan State Police, U.S. Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

List of criminal charges

Smith faces twenty charges, including:

  • Fifteen counts of Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Materials, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison;
  • Two counts of Distribution of Child Sexually Abusive Materials, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison; and,
  • Three counts of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison based on the underlying felonies listed above.