Mourners to say goodbye to Napoleon, an 'amazing, compassionate leader'

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Mourners will say goodbye this week to an "amazing, compassionate leader" who dedicated his life to law enforcement.

Longtime Wayne County Sheriff and former Detroit police chief Benny Napoleon died Dec. 17 in Henry Ford Hospital, about three weeks after going on a ventilator with COVID-19. He was 65.

"It’s still hard to speak," Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Paula Bridges said Sunday, who worked for Napoleon for more than 20 years. "My grief runs so deep, but there are thousands upon thousands who are also grieving. He was beloved.

"We're all sharing in this grief, and we'll get through it together," Bridges said. "His legacy will not die out ... he was an amazing, compassionate leader. He never placed anyone's title over their humanity."

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon sits for an interview at the. Wayne County Sheriffs station on Woodward  in Detroit, Michigan  on November 28, 2012.

Visitation is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Swanson Funeral Home, 806 E Grand Blvd. in Detroit; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Greater Grace Temple at 23500 W. Seven Mile in Detroit.

A private funeral service is planned.

"He was a very faithful man, and he lived his faith," Bridges said. "The church was very important to him. He was a servant in the way we’re supposed to be servants.

"There won't be another like Benny Napoleon."

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Napoleon's honor to the Wayne County Youth and Senior Education Fund. Donations may be mailed to 4747 Woodward, Detroit, Michigan 48201.

Donations later will be placed into a scholarship fund for Sheriff Napoleon's grandson, Malachi K. Jackson, Sheriff's Office officials said in a press release.