On Sunday, Feb. 25, Channel 4 WDIV aired a story detailing a two-year-old OWI traffic stop conducted by Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins. During the incident, Collins and assisting officers determined that the driver--an elderly female on her way home from a funeral--was driving while over the legal limit. With no prior issues on her record and a son in nearby law enforcement they could release her to, Collins made the decision to impound her vehicle and have her safely released to her family.
The City has received questions and feedback from multiple perspectives. City Manager April Lynch has responded with the following statement.
In a profession like law enforcement, officers face complex and difficult situations. Each case is unique, which means that officers are regularly called upon and trusted to use their best judgment. In addition, Ferndale is centered on community policing, which means police do what they can to help people versus always resorting to punishment. Helping an elderly woman coming home from a funeral, with no prior issues, a dependable family member to escort her, and a strong likelihood that such behavior would not happen again seems a reasonable use of discretion.
Sometimes, mistakes are made. We all agree that the decision by one of our lieutenants to have an off-duty Roseville officer given a ride home late last year was a significant lapse in judgment, and one that was closely reviewed and disciplined. A great police department isn’t one that never makes mistakes, but one that learns from them and works to ensure that they’re not made again.
To that end, I’m working closely with Chief Collins, Captain Palazzolo, and the rest of the department to review our policies on how these matters are handled and to ensure that our officers receive whatever education and resources are needed to help them accordingly. For our police department to be successful, our community must trust our officers’ use of judgment. That is our goal, every day, and I believe going forward that our results will speak for themselves.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Lynch at 248-546-2399.