Detroit police commander arrested for drunken driving is named Highland Park police chief

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click to enlarge Johnny Thomas has been named chief of the Highland Park Police Department. - Shutterstock
Johnny Thomas has been named chief of the Highland Park Police Department.

A Detroit police commander who retired after crashing a department-issued vehicle while drunk is now the chief of the Highland Park Police Department.

Highland Park on Thursday announced the hiring of Johnny Thomas, a 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, to lead the city’s police department.

Thomas, who once ran internal affairs, had a blood-alcohol content above .17 when he struck a pickup truck that was stopped at a red light in January 2019. The driver of the truck was injured and taken to a hospital.

Thomas, who was arrested by officers from his own precinct, was charged with operating while impaired and sentenced to probation.

At the time, then-Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he was “very disappointed” and placed Thomas on restrictive duty pending an investigation.

Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp defended hiring Thomas, saying he was the best candidate.

“I need an administrator. This man is a chief, all kinds of training,” Yopp told WXYZ-TV. "As police officers, there’s certain standards. However, how many of us, including you, have not made a mistake in life?”

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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