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Detroit cop tests positive for cocaine, but commissioners give him 'second chance'

Overruling Chief White, board votes 6-2 to continue officer's pay after drug test
Posted at 4:17 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 19:03:00-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A positive drug test by a Detroit police officer is highlighting a rift between Chief James White and the board tasked with overseeing the department.

In July, an officer in the city's fifth precinct was ordered by his supervisor to take a drug test after he repeatedly showed up late for his shift, according to sources.

During the meeting, the officer disclosed that he was addicted to the prescription drug Adderall, sources say. But two different drug tests detected cocaine metabolites.

After the positive test, Chief White moved to suspend the officer without pay, but to take away his salary, he would need the approval of the Board of Police Commissioners.

He didn’t get it.

At an August 4th meeting, Commissioner Willie Bell—a fixture on the board—introduced a motion to deny White’s request to stop the officer’s pay, but continue his health insurance.

He was joined by Commissioners Linda Bernard, Bryan Ferguson, Rev. Jim Holly, Rev. Cedric Banks and Willie Burton.

“I believe in the gospel of a second chance,” said Commissioner Holley in casting his vote.

Only Commissioners Jesus Hernandez and QuanTez Pressley voted with Chief White.

Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore was not at the meeting on August 4, but said if he was, he would have voted to take the officer’s pay.

“It’s somewhat of a double standard,” Moore said. “If this happened to a citizen, they would be fired, they would be prosecuted.”

The Detroit Police Officers Association, who represents the officer that tested positive, did not return our calls for comment and their lawyer declined comment.

Tonight, that officer is not on the job but remains on the payroll.

“What would the public think,” Moore said, “if they knew that the board is rubber stamping cocaine usage, in a sense?”

But in the weeks since the vote, some members appear to be reconsidering their vote.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Commissioner Jim Holley said he has had second thought.

“I was using my heart, not my head,” Rev. Holley said.

The board is now anticipated to vote again on whether to take the officer’s pay at its next meeting on August 25.

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at or at (248) 827-9466.