Candidate Profile: Willie E. Bell, Detroit Police Commissioner

DETROIT – Detroit voters will vote for the fourth district police commissioner in the November general election.

To help readers make informed decisions, Patch has asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will post candidate profiles as Election Day approaches.

Willie E. Bell is running against Scotty Boman for District Fourth Police Commissioner. This is how he filled out his profile:

Detroit Police Commissioner

Party affiliation



Naice Bell – wife Ashanti Bell Patterson (Kevin Patterson) – daughter Ayobami Bell Torrence (Adam Torrence) – daughter Anaiya and Adriel – grandchildren

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

Yes sir


BA, Central Michigan


Retired DPD lieutenant

Previous or current elected or appointed office

Police superintendent

Campaign website

N / A

Why are you looking for an election office?

I am applying for re-election because of my many years of experience and because I stand for truth and integrity. As a black man who grew up in east Detroit, has lived with my family in the East English Village for over 40 years, and is now grandchildren, I remain committed to public safety and serve the best interests of my District 4 community.

I led the initiative for police reform within DPD and helped shape the motto “Accountability through civil supervision”. My passion for effective community policing and crime prevention has never waned. As a retired civil servant, a board member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), and a current commissioner, I have always fought to hold law enforcement accountable and one of my top priorities is influencing the disciplinary action of officials.

The most pressing issue we (board of directors, district, etc.) face is _______ and this is what I intend to address.

It is a matter of disciplinary action and I would like the new police union contract to address this issue. The board is not currently involved in any disciplinary action. This is in contradiction to what is stipulated in the city charter. Therefore, I will urge the mayor to follow the charter mandate to give the board of directors ultimate authority in this area.

What are the key differences between you and the other candidates seeking this position?

I am more qualified through my many years of experience as a representative and in management. My colleagues elected me chairman and deputy chairman over several years and more than four times in various committees. I am also currently the only commissioner ever to serve on the board of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE). I am passionate about serving the people of the city of Detroit and remain committed to public safety and civil oversight.

If you are a challenger, how has the current officer or incumbent let the ward (or district or constituency) down?

N / A

How do you think local officials have reacted to the coronavirus? What if you did something differently?

N / A

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

Crime remains a major challenge in Detroit. There has to be a strong approach to tackling this street crime. We need more police officers and we need to keep the officers with better pay and benefits. In addition to enforcing appropriate disciplinary action, I also encourage community involvement with the board of directors to ensure that officials serve all communities with fairness and equality.

What past accomplishments would you cite as evidence that you can handle this job?

As a police officer, I was a founding member of the Concerned Police Officers for Equal Justice (CPOEJ). It was created to address community concerns about unfair treatment by police officers and to advocate positive action to recruit and promote African Americans within the department.

I am a past recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award for my involvement with the Guardians Police Association. A black officer organization with mostly the same aims and objectives as the CPOEJ.

As mentioned earlier, I am also the only commissioner to serve on the board of the National Association for Civilian Oversight.

The best advice I’ve ever given was:

Always stand up for rights and don’t be afraid to speak out against injustice or wrongdoing.

What else would you like to tell the voters about yourself and your positions?

I am a US Army veteran. I spent 32 years at DPD fighting crime and working to make the department more accountable to the people it served. This also includes being a founding member of the Concerned Police Officers for Equal Justice.

I was also president of the Guardians of Michigan and chairman of the Midwest and the national sections of the National Black Police Association.

I am an advocate for law enforcement professionalism and have a history of fighting for civil rights, community representation and public accountability.

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