Community holds fundraiser for Napoleon
By Khalil AlHajal | Saturday, 02.20.2010, 04:18 AM

DEARBORN — A largely Arab American crowd of supporters gathered to raise funds for the election campaign of Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon on Tuesday.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon speaks to an Arab American crowd of supporters.

About 300 attended the fundraiser at Byblos Banquet Hall in Dearborn, lead by Maher Jaafar, a retired Detroit police officer who Napoleon appointed his Director of Law Enforcement and Business Affairs in August.

Wayne County officials appointed Napoleon sheriff in July after Detroit Mayor Dave Bing made former Sheriff Warren Evans chief of Detroit Police. Voters will decide in November whether to retain Napoleon as sheriff.

Napoleon has served as Detroit police chief in the past and as assistant county executive under County Executive Robert Ficano.

"You need a guy who came up through the ranks," said Ron Amen, an Arab American community leader and retired sheriff's deputy.

Napoleon became a police officer in 1975 and worked his way up to chief in 1998. He also holds a law degree and has served on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

"Under Napoleon, we are going to see a really well-run department," Amen said.

Napoleon focused on tough budget conditions as he addressed the crowd.

"The county has some very severe financial problems," he said.

He said he would not engage in public battles with the county executive over budget cuts, referring to past squabbles between Evans and Ficano. But he said he would constructively fight for funds while running the department efficiently and being responsive to community input.

Jaafar said the size of the gathering showed the community's familiarity and faith in Napoleon.

"In tough economic times, to have a room this full is amazing," he said.


By Khalil AlHajal

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