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Funeral arrangements announced for Wayne County Sheriff Napoleon

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Public arrangements are set for Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, who died after a nearly month-long battle with COVID-19. 

Viewing hours for the public will be held after Christmas for two days while his family will have a private funeral service, Napoleon's daughter, Tiffani Jackson posted on Facebook. 

Napoleon, 65, died Thursday at Henry Ford Hospital, about three weeks after going on a ventilator. 

"A lot of people loved and cared about him," Jackson said. "It extends far beyond our family."

Public viewings will be held from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28 at Swanson Funeral Home on E. Grand Boulevard and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29 at Greater Grace Temple on W. Seven Mile.

Masks and social distancing will be required at the viewings. The funeral service with Napoleon's family will be livestreamed on swansonfuneralhomes.com.

"Having conducted the heartbreaking task of lowering the flag at headquarters, it is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon," said spokeswoman Paula Bridges.

"Sheriff Napoleon was nationally recognized as an expert in law enforcement after more than 45 years of dedicated service. While he was tough on crime, he was beloved throughout the region for is compassion, faith and deep sense of community."

Before becoming sheriff in 2009, Napoleon was chief of police in Detroit. 

When he took over the Detroit Police in 1998, he opened the doors to federal officials investigating abusive practices in the department, and then helped begin the process of implementing the consent decree reached to reform the agency.

Detroit Mayoral Candidate Benny Napoleon campaigns at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, in Detroit, November 01, 2013.

Born in the city in 1955, he attended Cass Technical High School. After taking classes at DeVry Technical Institute in Chicago, Henry Ford Community College and Wayne State University, he worked at Sibley’s Shoes in Detroit prior to signing up for the Police Academy.

Napoleon rose through the ranks, while pursuing a degree in criminal justice from the University of Detroit-Mercy. He later earned a law degree from the Detroit College of Law.

After spending 26 years with the Detroit Police, Napoleon left the department. Several years later, he got involved in government, becoming the No. 2 to Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano in 2004.