Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Letter To The Southfield Police Department

I wrote the following letter to the Southfield Police Department a few weeks after my dad died:

I am writing in regard to the way a case was handled on August 11th and 12th, 2014. 

On August 11, my dad went missing on his way home from work.  He worked at Vince and Joes in Clinton Township and was attempting to get home to his house on Addison Street in Southfield.  As you are well aware, there was massive and widespread flooding that occurred on August 11th 

My mom and sister turned to the Southfield Police for help and were deeply hurt by the lack of care and concern that they received.  They also contacted many other area police departments and felt that the Southfield Police Department was especially rude and unhelpful. 

As my mom described to officers, even though protocol calls for waiting 24 to 48 hours to consider a person “missing,” my dad was never late.  Given this, and the fact that there was severe weather impacting people trying to navigate the roads, it would seem proper that you would have used discretion and not have followed the guidelines so much to the book, in this case.

Worse than this, however, is the fact that my dad ended up dead, in his car, and was found in Hazel Park. 

A Southfield Police Officer came to my parentshouse around 9 p.m. on August 12th, and curtly handed my mom a ripped piece of paper.  She was instructed to call the Hazel Park police.  When she asked what it was about, the Southfield Police officer would not tell her.  Ultimately, she found out that my dad was dead.

But why wasnt more care and concern used in delivering this news?  Why wasnt a Hazel Park police officer escorted to my parentshouse by a Southfield police officer to deliver the news?  Or why wasnt my mom brought to a police station in Southfield to receive the call there?

When we lived in Huntington Woods, and someone punched a hole through a window in our front door, the Huntington Woods police treated it like it was a big deal.  The Southfield Police, in a situation that was a big deal, showed no regard for their own residents.

It is sincerely disappointing that Southfield police officers are not trained to be more sensitive in dealing with people in extreme situations.  This situation was incredibly harrowing for my family, and was made worse by the actions on the part of the Southfield Police Department.

At the very least, I would like a formal, written apology to my mom for the way she and my sister were treated during such a difficult time.

This is the letter that started it all.  I wrote to the Southfield Police Department, upset over the treatment that my family received during all of this.  I never would have imagined that this letter would start a chain of events almost far worse than the experience we had in the 24 hours that my dad was missing.

The lieutenant that called me basically went point by point in my letter and refuted everything.

Worse, he told me that my dad was an otherwise healthy 60-something and didn't warrant the police department's resources.  It was also suggested that, as far as the police were concerned, my dad could have been hanging out in a hotel or at McDonalds, despite the fact that there was a terrible storm and it was totally out of character for him to just disappear.  

So should my mom have lied and told police that my dad was sick or mentally ill?  It shouldn't have mattered what he was other than a person.

For me, it doesn't hold up.  If a person is reported missing and is then found dead in their car, didn't the situation warrant some resources which may have been able to prevent death from actually happening?

I will never forget this conversation as long as I live, and I wish I would have had the presence of mind to record it.  It was an impromptu phone call that I was not expecting to get, and to be honest, would rather not have gotten, considering the tenor of it.  It was so demoralizing.  The person had the gull to say that he looked me up and I seemed very educated.  And the point is?

The point is that an innocent man died because the police refused to look for him.  

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