Former police officer Darnell Blackburn joins Local 4 News

Darnell Blackburn, Local 4 Crime & Safety Expert (Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.)

Former police officer Darnell Blackburn is joining WDIV-Local 4 as the station’s Crime and Safety Expert on all platforms -- Local 4 News on television, the station website, and on the station’s streaming channel Local 4+ -- as announced Tuesday by station Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis.

Blackburn will begin this role immediately and will provide in-depth analysis as part of the station’s approach to its crime reporting to help viewers better understand what is important and how to keep themselves, their families, and friends safe from becoming a victim of crime. Blackburn will also join the team of on-air traffic reporters for the station’s Timesaver Traffic segments during morning news weekdays from 4:30 a.m. until 8 a.m.

“We have heard loud and clear from the people of Southeast Michigan that they want to know what crimes are happening in their neighborhoods,” Ellis said. “But more importantly, they want to know why they matter, solutions to keep it from happening again, and what they can do to keep themselves safe. We are reinventing our approach to covering crime and adding Darnell will help us do that. Stations everywhere have historically reported on crime because they have always done it and it was easy. We’re changing that. We say all the time viewers should expect more from their local news. We are investing in resources to further demonstrate why you can expect more from Local 4 News to make it worth your time to watch every day.”

Blackburn is a veteran of law enforcement with more than 27 years’ experience. He worked as a police officer at Michigan State University and served in the Auburn Hills Police Department where he worked road patrol, community policing, narcotics, and other special assignments.

He has also been instrumental in the education of police throughout Southeast Michigan working for more than 15 years with the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), the regulatory agency for all law enforcement in Michigan. There he helped oversee and develop the training and standards curriculum for all of Michigan’s law enforcement officers. He is also an adjunct professor at Macomb Community College where he teaches courses ranging from criminal investigations to business marketing.

“Darnell’s experience as a public safety officer at MSU and a street officer in Auburn Hills gives him a level of expertise you just cannot get any other way. To be able to share that experience with our viewers and readers to provide insights when there’s a breaking news situation or show how to keep yourself from becoming a victim is a game-changer for this market. And there is no one better to help navigate the Michigan roads than a former patrol officer. We could not be more fortunate to have him join our news team,” said Ellis.

Blackburn was born and raised in Detroit and attended Cass Technical High School. He graduated from MSU with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. Darnell received his master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2007.

Darnell is also the founder and owner of PRAT LLC, a consulting company that specializes in soft skills training for organizations in Cultural Competency, Verbal De-Escalation, and Implicit Bias. Blackburn has acted as a facilitator with the US Department of Justice alongside Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and Jeff Sessions on police and community relations. He sits on numerous committees and currently holds numerous certifications. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., NOBLE and several other professional organizations.