It was an embarrassing moment for Detroit Police Commander Johnny Thomas when he rammed his patrol car into the rear of another car stopped at a red light late one night back in January 2019, which then rammed the car in front of it.
The former head of internal affairs whose career with the Detroit Police Department spanned two decades ended up arrested by officers from his own precinct with a .BAC of .18, more than twice the legal limit. The man in the car he struck was transported to the hospital.
It was the sixth time in eight years that he had crashed a cop car but none of the previous incidents resulted in arrest, according to Deadline Detroit.
Like many veteran cops facing demotion or discipline, Thomas, who was 48 at the time, chose to retire, spending the first year of his retirement on probation for the drunk driving incident.
But last week it was announced that Thomas is coming out of retirement to become police chief of Highland Park, a suburban municipality of less than 10,000 people surrounded by Detroit.
Thomas, who will oversee a department of eight officers, beat out two other candidates for the job.
Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp told local media he was aware of Thomas’ history but that he was still the best candidate for the job.
And he probably is right considering the degree of corruption and misconduct among police officers in the Detroit area that involved stealing, sexual assault, domestic violence, public fighting and fraud, just to name a few of the offenses Detroit cops have been charged with since Thomas’ arrest, according to a quick Google search.
Local media reports that aside from the drunk driving arrest and the crashed cop cars, Thomas does not have any serious allegations against him during the two decades he spent as a Detroit police officer which apparently is what made him a standout candidate.