G.P. Farms police chief doubled as Ford bodyguard
Grosse Pointe Farms — Police Chief Daniel Jensen is a close friend of Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and has worked as the auto baron’s bodyguard, but their relationship played no role in the city’s decision not to charge cousin Edsel Ford II following an alleged domestic violence incident Monday, the chief said.
Jensen defended his department’s conduct two days after city Prosecutor Robert Ihrie decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Edsel Ford following an incident at the auto heir’s home.
In an interview Thursday, Jensen described a 37-year professional and personal relationship with Bill Ford. Jensen has provided private security for Bill Ford but said he was unaware of any member of his department performing similar work for Edsel Ford.
The relationship did not influence his department’s conduct, Jensen said during an interview that shed light on close ties between members of a department serving an affluent, lakeside community filled with auto industry heirs and high-profile residents, including Edsel Ford’s reported next-door neighbor, Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.
“How could anybody think being handcuffed, thrown in the back of a scout car and thrown in our pokey for almost 13 hours is getting any kind of preferential treatment?” Jensen told The News.
Edsel Ford, the 67-year-old great-grandson of Henry Ford, spent the night in jail Monday after an alleged domestic violence incident with wife Cynthia.
Alcohol was involved and police say Edsel Ford snatched away his wife’s cellphone while she tried to record the incident.
Ihrie was unaware of Jensen’s relationship with Bill Ford but called it irrelevant.
“Zero significance,” Ihrie said.
Edsel Ford was not charged because there were no witnesses, no evidence of an assault such as scratches, bruises or blood, and Cynthia Ford did not want to pursue charges, Ihrie said.
“Quite frankly, there was virtually nothing else for me to look at,” he said. “This was not a borderline case.”
Jensen and Bill Ford became friends almost 40 years ago when they lived in nearby Grosse Pointe Farms apartments.
“He is a good friend,” Jensen said. “I’ve done security details for him, worked security and different things,” Jensen said. “But I haven’t in a couple of years. I’ve done nothing for Edsel.”
He wasn’t sure if his officers have worked for Edsel Ford.
“I can’t recall,” Jensen said.
Ford Motor Co. provides its own security for Bill Ford, who moved to Ann Arbor Township about 16 years ago. Last year, the automaker spent $928,150 on security for Bill Ford, according to the company.
“Bill grew up and lived in the Grosse Pointe community for many years so he has known Chief Jensen for many years and (Jensen) has worked for him in the past,” Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said. “As the chief said, Bill had nothing to do with anything in this matter.”
City rules allow members of the police department to moonlight as security guards.
“There’s guidelines,” Jensen said. “If you work a side job, and someone wants our equipment, then there needs to be a waiver indemnifying (Grosse Pointe Farms) if any civil matter arises.”
Grosse Pointe Farms officers handled Edsel Ford’s arrest like any other domestic violence incident in the city, Jensen said.
“Had the same situation occurred at my house, I’d have been arrested,” Jensen said. “We do not play games with anything.”
Ihrie, the city’s prosecutor, said he decided not to file charges because he lacked ammunition to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Sure, I knew it was Edsel Ford (involved). Would that keep me from prosecuting? Absolutely not,” Ihrie said. “I have prosecuted everybody from a homeless person all the way up to a Michigan Supreme Court justice.”
Michael Martinez contributed.