Former Detroit Police Officer Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Taking Bribes Connected to Towing
DETROIT– A former Detroit police officer was sentenced to 27 months in prison for accepting bribes in a conspiracy with a Detroit police lieutenant in connection with corruption in the towing industry in Detroit, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.
Ison was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Daniel Vickers, 54, of Livonia, Michigan, spent his career as a police officer in Detroit. Vickers conspired with former Detroit police lieutenant John F. Kennedy. Kennedy at one point commanded the department’s Public Integrity Unit, a division of the Internal Affairs Division responsible for investigating reports of law violations and professional misconduct by police officers and other city employees. The two agreed to commit bribery by accepting money and other items of value in exchange for Kennedy using and promising to use his influence as a supervisor to persuade other officers to make tow referrals to a towing company in violation of the city’s ordinance and Detroit Police Department policy. Kennedy pleaded guilty to the bribery conspiracy in August 2022, and he will be sentenced on April 18, 2023.
In recorded conversations during the investigation, Vickers admitted to soliciting bribe payments from at least three towing companies in the Detroit area. In addition to the cash payments Vickers solicited, he and Kennedy also agreed to accept bribes in the form of thousands of dollars in cars, car parts, car repairs, and new carpeting for Vickers’ home. Besides making illegal tow referrals in exchange for the bribes, Vickers and Kennedy also agreed to provide the towing company that Kennedy was investigating with confidential information about the status of the Public Integrity Unit’s case.
In total, between February 2018, and June 2018, Vickers accepted over $3,400 in bribe payments from the towing company. In addition, Kennedy accepted bribes amounting to $14,950 during the course of the conspiracy.
Vickers and Kennedy were charged as part of the government’s investigation known as “Operation Northern Hook.” Northern Hook is an investigation of corruption within the government and the Police Department of the City of Detroit relating to the towing industry and other matters. Thus far, six defendants have been charged in the probe.
United States Attorney Ison said, “Any police officer who chooses the path of corruption should understand that we will not tolerate unethical conduct from our public officials at any level. We commend Detroit Chief of Police James White and the Detroit Police Department for their cooperation assistance in this investigation.”
“Police officers take an oath to protect and serve their communities. Today, Daniel Vickers is being held responsible for violating that oath by using his official position to benefit himself personally. His actions were not in keeping with the integrity and professionalism exhibited by the Detroit Police Department every day,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The FBI appreciates the partnership and cooperation of Police Chief James White as we continue to address public corruption in the City of Detroit."
“This former officer’s actions are completely unacceptable for anyone who is sworn to protect and serve our city as a Detroit Police officer,” said Detroit Police Chief James E. White. “We appreciate U.S. Attorney Ison’s work to hold those engaging in corruption accountable and will continue to collaborate with her office in any investigation of alleged wrongdoing by our officers. It is a top priority of my administration to guarantee that Detroiters can depend on our officers to act ethically.”
The case was investigated by the Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force, which is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Detroit Police Department, Michigan Attorney General's Office, Michigan State Police, Customs & Border Protection, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eaton P. Brown.