Another former Detroit cop pleads guilty in towing scandal for taking bribes

Former Detroit police officer Daniel Vickers

A former Detroit police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring with a DPD lieutenant to commit bribery with corruption in the towing scandal.

Daniel Vickers, 54, of Livonia, spent his career as a police officer in Detroit and during his plea hearing, admitted to conspiring with Detroit police Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office.

Based on his conviction for bribery conspiracy, Vickers faces a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Kennedy pleaded guilty to the bribery conspiracy in August 2022.

The two conspired to commit bribery by accepting money and other items of value in exchange for Kennedy using and promising to use his influence as a supervisor to persuade other officers to make referrals to a towing company in violation of the city’s ordinance and Detroit police policy.

Under the city’s towing rotation, qualifying private towing companies are called by the police to tow cars that are seized by the police or reported stolen.

Kennedy commanded the department’s Public Integrity Unit, a division of the Internal Affairs Division responsible for investigating reports of law violations and professional misconduct by police officers and other city employees.

Kennedy and Vickers were aware that by making towing referrals directly to a towing company which was not on the city’s towing rotation, they were violating the city’s rules -- as well as an ordinance prohibiting a towing company from receiving referrals if they are not on DPD's towing rotation.

Vickers also admitted that he and Kennedy conspired to solicit and accept thousands of dollars in cash, cars, car parts, car repairs, and new carpeting for his home, in exchange for providing the towing company that Kennedy was investigating with information about the status of the Public Integrity Unit’s case.

In total, between February 2018, and June 2018, Vickers accepted over $3,400 in bribe payments from the towing company. In addition, Kennedy accepted bribes amounting to $14,950 during the course of the conspiracy.

Vickers and Kennedy were charged as part of the government’s investigation known as "Operation Northern Hook." Northern Hook is an investigation of corruption within the government and the Police Department of the City of Detroit relating to the towing industry and other matters.


Thus far, six defendants have been charged in the probe.

"Today’s plea represents our commitment to holding our law enforcement officers to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism," said US Attorney Dawn N. Ison. "Our citizens deserve nothing less. We thank Chief of Police James White for his assistance in this investigation."

"The actions of these former officers are completely unacceptable for a Detroit Police officer," said Detroit Police Chief James E. White. "We appreciate U.S. Attorney Ison’s work to rid our city of corruption and will continue to collaborate in any investigation of alleged wrongdoing by our officers.

"It is a top priority of my administration to ensure that Detroit citizens can rely on our officers to act ethically."