Ferndale police officer fired, chief retires after Local 4 Defenders investigation

Defenders uncover string of incidents at Ferndale Police Department

Ferndale police Chief Timothy Collins (WDIV)
Ferndale police Chief Timothy Collins (WDIV)

FERNDALE, Mich. – The Ferndale Police Department has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons over the past few months, and now the police chief has announced his retirement.

A Ferndale police lieutenant was suspended a few months ago for failing to follow protocol on a possible drunken driving case. The chief was recently criticized for letting a drunken driver off after she blew twice the legal limit. Now, the Local 4 Defenders have learned about a new incident.

Local 4 Defender Karen Drew was recently tipped off about a Ferndale officer not following proper procedure. Documents show Officer Keith Thibodeau violated a variety of rules, including immoral conduct, improper use of position, lien usage and others.

Why is Thibodeau still on the job? Soon after the Defenders asked the question, both Thibodeau and Chief Timothy Collins left the department.

It's a major shakeup for Ferndale police, as Thibodeau was a 25-year veteran of the force. A statement released by the city manager says Thibodeau violated several regulations, including unbecoming conduct, insubordination, inattention to duty and incompetence.

The Defenders discovered the officer's termination was the last in a series of progressive disciplinary measures over recent years.

In a report from September 2015, Thibodeau is cited for violating a long list of policies, including immoral conduct and lien usage. At that time, he got a 10-day suspension without pay and warned that another similar situation would lead to his firing.

According to paperwork, similar allegations arose against Thibodeau in August 2017, but nothing was done. After the Defenders started asking questions in March, seven months after the incident, Thibodeau responded to the violations on March 29 and was terminated a few days later.

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