DETROIT – A supervisor of the Detroit Police Department’s integrity unit, Lt. John F. Kennedy, is one of two DPD officials who were charged Wednesday in connection with a bribery scheme.
Officials said Kennedy, 56, of Rochester Hills, was serving as the supervisor in command of the department’s integrity unit when he conspired with Officer Daniel S. Vickers, 54, of Livonia, to commit bribery. He held the position from 2017 to March 2018 at the Seventh Precinct.
The DPD integrity unit is responsible for investigating reports of law violations and professional misconduct by police officers and other city employees, according to a release.
Kennedy is accused of using and promising his influence as a supervisor to persuade other officers to make referrals to a towing company. That violated the city’s ordinance and DPD policy, officials said.
Under the city’s towing rotation, qualified private towing companies are called by police to tow cars that are reported stolen or seized by police. Authorities said Kennedy and Vickers made towing referrals directly to a towing company that was not in the city’s rotation.
Kennedy and Vickers also conspired to accept bribes in exchange for giving the towing company that Kennedy was investigating information about the status of the case, according to authorities.
They two conspired to accept thousands of dollars in cash, cars, car parts, car repairs and new carpeting for Vickers’ home, court records say.
Between October 2018 and March 2021, Kennedy accepted more than $14,000 in cash, cars and car repairs as bribes from the owner of the towing company and from an undercover federal agent, officials said.
Between February 2018 and June 2018, Vickers accepted $3,400 in bribe payments from the towing company, according to authorities.
Kennedy is charged in three separate bribery counts, as well as the bribery conspiracy count, police said.
Vickers is charged with three bribery counts, in addition to the conspiracy charge, officials said.
The bribery charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The bribery conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
This is the second case charged as part of the “Operation Northern Hook” investigation into towing industry corruption within the government and the Detroit Police Department.
Here is a statement from the Detroit Towing Association:
“It is unfortunate that the towing industry is referenced as “corrupt” every time a government official, (police officer or city council member), is charged with corruption in Operation Northern Hook. There are bad actors in every industry and government organization that need to be brought to justice. Just as we shouldn’t label all police as corrupt, nor should we be labeling all towing companies as corrupt.
“The Detroit Towing Association advocates for fair and transparent towing practices in the Police Authorized Rotation. We brought this to the attention of the City years ago, including a software solution that would help with transparency for all involved stakeholders.
“Crimes are less likely to be committed when there are cameras on the cash register. The same holds true for the software solution we suggested, where everyone involved could see the rotation. We look forward to working with the city to continue strengthening police authorized towing practices.”