Newest police officer ready to serve the community with vast experience
Posted on 08/06/2020
Officer Michel Petri joined the police force in July 2020.Serving on the police force is hardwired into the character of the newest officer, Michael Petri, who joined the City of Northville Police Dept. after serving more than two decades in the Dearborn Heights Police Department as a police officer, detective, undercover narcotics officer, sergeant, captain and chief of police. When he retired as chief due to time limits, he wasn’t ready to stop being a police officer.

He first became interested in policing while working as a security guard at the former Hudsons store in Westland. While apprehending shoplifters, he came in contact with officers of the Westland Police Department. He asked them about their work and benefits and found it appealing. He became a cadet and entered the police academy at Macomb Community College, graduating as an officer.

He has been an educator in the field for 18 years, having taught classes at Henry Ford Community College in criminal investigation and criminalistics (the scientific side of policing, including analysis of the crime scene). “Criminalistics is a field that has helped out law enforcement greatly and has evolved,” he said.

Petri put that learning to good use in the Dearborn Heights Police Dept., where he investigated crimes and relied on a team of people to process evidence and help piece together the crime and identify the perpetrators. That community borders 10 different cities — from low-income to middle-class neighborhoods – and criminals often crossed those borders, so working closely with area police departments was critical to solving crimes.

In his new role, he’ll interact with neighboring police departments in Northville Township and Novi, areas with a low crime rate. As a City police officer, he’ll handle cases from beginning to end. He’s happy to be drawing on the experience of fellow officers in Northville who’ve worked at big city departments (Detroit and Baltimore) and rural communities.

“It’s a career that presents new challenges every day,” he said. “It’s important that people realize that we are trying to do our best, especially during these times when some officers across the nation are doing bad things that tarnish the image of the profession.

“Whenever the police show up, it’s usually not a good thing – but often it’s our job to make the best out of bad situations,” he said. “It’s all about how you go about doing things. If people can understand what you’re doing and if you treat them the way you want to be treated, things go smoothly.”

He knows Police Chief Alan Maciag and greatly respects his work and integrity. They often went to the same regional meetings for police chiefs.