Dwyer returning to Warren as police commissioner

Mike Martindale

Warren — At an age when younger men are focused on their hobbies or tee times, Oakland County Commissioner William J. Dwyer is eschewing retirement possibilities to embark on his next chapter of public service.

After nearly four terms representing voters in Oakland County, the 76-year-old Dwyer, R.— Farmington Hills, is going back to the future. In his case, that means returning to law enforcement and also a second stint as Warren's top cop.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts announced Monday that Dwyer accepted an offer to return as Warren's Police Commissioner, replacing Jere Greene, who took over when Dwyer left seven years ago to run for his current elected position. It was not known if Greene, a 37-year veteran of the department, would stay on in Warren in some capacity.

Dwyerdescribed it as "going home."

"I'm looking forward to a team effort to make an already, very good department, one of the best for the betterment of the community," Dwyer said.

Dwyer, who will be paid about $125,000 a year in Warren, said he will not seek a fifth term on the Oakland County Board of Commissioner but will complete his current term, which expires in December 2018. In his new role, he’ll oversee 239 employees and a nearly $42 million annual budget.

"(Commissioner) is a part-time job but four terms is long enough," said Dwyer, who had initially hoped to juggle both jobs back in 2010 before being told by Fouts he had to pick one.

Dwyer is currently chair of the public services committee and a member of the planning and building committee and legislative committee.

Work has never been an issue for Dwyer, who spent 23 years in the Detroit Police Department, rising from patrol officer to head of the Narcotics Division and finally Commander of Chief of Staff.

He then served the next 23 years as police chief in Farmington Hills initiating many anti-crime programs, before stepping down at the age of 68 to to take the job as Warren's top cop in 2008.

After nearly a half-century in law enforcement, Dwyer has received awards and honors for service and has been active in dozens of fraternal and civic groups and commissions, ranging from law enforcement and hospital boards to the Boy Scouts of America.

Dwyer's roots in Macomb County run deep. He was born and raised in the 9 Mile and Van Dyke area in Warren and is a graduate of L'Anse Creuse High School in Mount Clemens. He has a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College, a master's degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University and attended the FBI National Academy.

He said some of his first priorities as Warren Police Commissioner will be to reinstate several programs he initiated in his first go-round in Warren: equipping all officers with Tasers; recreating a K-9 unit; and reviving community policing efforts he feels are essential to citizens and officers working together.

"I have been told I will have total control of the department and there are elements I believe are important to have moving forward," Dwyer said.

Dwyer dismisses talk he should be slowing down now that he’s in his mid-70s.

"You can only golf so much,” he said. “I enjoy public service. I like giving back, and I like a challenge. It's great to see positive results from your efforts."


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