Dale Dwojakowski For Chief of Police
With the impending retirement of Police Chief John Berg, the city finds itself once again going through the process of selecting a new police chief. The best choice for the job has already been vetted and is ready to go to work: Captain Dale Dwojakowski.
I do not recommend anyone for anything, be it for city business or in my own personal life, unless I know the person and have spent time working with them. In my role as a coordinator for the Sterling Heights CERT, I have been fortunate to get to know Mr. Dwojakowski over the past several months, and my impression of him has been a very good one. Dwojakowski is a skilled leader who has a good relationship with the people who he works with. He is personable, articulate and a capable navigator around City Hall. He is a tech aficionado, holds a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice, and teaches University-level courses in the discipline. He’s also a booster of community programs like COPS and CERT, and a pretty nice guy.
Avid followers of city politics will recall that last year a professional testing firm was brought in by the city to evaluate the two candidates who were vying for the Chief’s job. A considerable amount of money — about $7,000 — was spent testing the two men and having them evaluated by three different Chiefs of Police with whom they weren’t acquainted. Although last year I recommended John Berg for the post based on my personal knowledge of him, the man who scored highest in the evaluation was Dale Dwojakowski. He is fully capable and ready to do the job.
Around town I have heard a couple of objections to Dwojakowski’s candidacy: one, he was named in the Police time card scandal from 2012, and two, he suffered a serious injury years ago which left him with greatly reduced grip strength in his right hand. People allege that Dwojakowski is somehow a dirty cop for his so-called “involvement” in the scandal, and they also say he doesn’t have the strength to do police work.
In a word, these objections are nonsense. I thoroughly investigated and documented my findings on the 2012 time card scandal back when memories were still fresh and the stories were still in the news every night. The time card scandal was more of a political exercise in damage control and spreading the blame around to protect friends of the chief than it was an uncovering of widespread fraud in the department. Of the 21 command officers who ultimately shouldered the blame for that situation, only three or four actually committed fraud against the city. As you know, in political damage control the truth gets distorted and reputations can be smeared undeservingly. I have clear recollections of what took place back in 2012, and although I will forever keep them confidential, I know names of the bad actors who defrauded the city. Mr. Dwojakowski wasn’t one of them. Dale Dwojakowski paid the same high price that all of the command officers who were named were forced to, and that should be the end of it.
As to the Captain’s grip strength in his right hand: yeah, he’s got a minor disability there. I wouldn’t want to be standing down range from him when he’s got his service pistol in his left hand, however: he regularly qualifies with nice, tight groups shooting southpaw. And if he needs to push or shove with that right arm he is completely uninhibited; the only inability he has is in curling his fingers. A criminal perp betting against Dale Dwojakowski is going to end up on the ground in cuffs.
At age 46, Dwojakowski never entered the DROP program, and has as many as seven years to go before retirement. His elevation to the Chief’s post will do several things for the city. One, it will provide continuity of leadership that is sorely needed during a time of a massive turnover in the department due to retirements. Two, it will place into the job somebody who not only has the right personality and skills to do it, but also someone who has been professionally vetted and evaluated for the job and passed with flying colors. Finally, it puts someone at the top of the department who has the respect of both his subordinates as well as City Council, and who demonstrates that the residents come first via his support for civilian programs like the aforementioned COPS, CERT, and the forthcoming return of the Civilian Police Academy program.
I support Dale Dwojakowski for Chief of Police.