detroit police headquarters
Detroit Public Safety Headquarters downtown was photographed on June 10, 2022. (BridgeDetroit Photo by Malachi Barrett)

A former Detroit police officer has pleaded guilty to conspiring with a police lieutenant to accept $3,400 in bribes from a towing company, marking the latest development in an ongoing federal corruption investigation.

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that Daniel Vickers, a 54-year-old Livonia resident, admitted to illegally conspiring with Detroit Police Lt. John Kennedy, who used his influence as a supervisor to send business to a towing company that wasn’t contracted with the Detroit Police Department. In exchange, the pair received money and gifts, authorities said. Both Vickers and Kennedy face up to five years in prison and fines of $250,000. 

Vickers and Kennedy were charged as part of a federal corruption investigation into the Detroit Police Department and the City of Detroit. Six defendants have been charged in the probe so far, including former Council Member Andre Spivey, who was convicted on bribery charges last year, and ex-Detroit police officer Alonzo Jones, who was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.


“The actions of these former officers are completely unacceptable for a Detroit Police officer,” Detroit Police Chief James White said in a statement. “We appreciate U.S. Attorney (Dawn) 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.”

After raids in August 2021 at the homes and offices of two Detroit City Council members and their aides, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan directed White to craft a plan to eliminate the city’s towing company rotation practices, arguing the process was susceptible to abuse, and to implement a series of other reforms. 

City ordinances require the police to work with a list of approved towing companies when a vehicle is abandoned or stolen. 

Kennedy, a 57-year-old Rochester Hills resident, at one point commanded the department’s Public Integrity Unit and was responsible for investigating reports of misconduct by police officers. He pleaded guilty to the bribery conspiracy in August. Vickers admitted to soliciting bribes from an unnamed towing company that Kennedy was investigating in exchange for information about the case. 

A plea agreement signed by Vickers states he acted as a go-between in the bribery scheme, providing the tower with information about Kennedey’s biased “investigation” into the company. 

Vickers was a sworn police officer for DPD’s traffic enforcement division from 2016 to March 2018. Several text conversations referenced in a federal indictment show Vickers and Kennedy coordinating exchanges of cash, cars, car parts, car repairs, and new carpeting for Vickers’ home with an unidentified towing company. 

Federal prosecutors say Vickers accepted $3,400 in three bribe payments from the towing company, which was not identified in Thursday’s DOJ press release, while Kennedy accepted $14,950 in bribes.

“Today’s plea represents our commitment to ensuring that the citizens of Detroit are protected by officers characterized by the highest levels of integrity,” 

Ison said in a statement that the latest plea “represents our commitment to ensuring that the citizens of Detroit are protected by officers characterized by the highest levels of integrity.”

“We will not accept members of law enforcement who prioritize their personal gain over policing excellence,” added Ison, who thanked White for aiding in the investigation.

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