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Detroit police chief steps down amid sex probe

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012

A year earlier, Bing fired chief James Barren after less than a year on the job. At the time, Bing said Barren didn't do anything wrong, but that he felt the police department needed a leadership change.

Barren had replaced Ella Bully-Cummings, who retired in 2008 during a text-messaging sex scandal that toppled Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office. Kilpatrick currently faces a corruption scandal.

Bully-Cummings followed Jerry Oliver, who resigned in November 2003 after federal inspectors found a loaded .25-caliber handgun in his checked baggage at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Oliver pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possession of an unlicensed handgun.

But none of their troubles compare to the fall of long-time chief William Hart whose career ended when a federal grand jury indicted him in 1991 for embezzling $2.6 million from the department's drug enforcement fund. He served seven years in prison.

Bing, who tapped 38-year police veteran Chester Logan to lead the department in the interim while a search is being conducted, insisted that another change at the top shouldn't reflect poorly on the department's 2,600-plus officers.

"They're under a lot of stress and strain. I sympathize with them. I empathize with them," Bing said.

But the selection process will be different than how chiefs were chosen in the past, political analyst and former city councilwoman Sheila Cockrel said.

Under the new City Charter, the police board of commissioners has to hire an executive search firm to compile a list of candidates. Bing would then select who he wants to fill the job with the City Council having to approve the choice, said Cockrel, who has concerns about the charter mandate.

Godbee, who made $140,400 per year as chief, has not publicly commented on the revelations of his affair with Angelica Robinson. But in a letter to Bing wrote that "retirement is only another way to say transition."

"I always will be actively engaged in our community, our school system, our community colleges and our churches," the letter continued. "My mission it to continue to work hard to make this city the best it can be."

Bing placed Godbee on a 30-day suspension last week pending the investigation.

The mayor told reporters that he had talked to Godbee "on more than one occasion" about his relationships.

"He confided in me that he had changed his ways," Bing said. "I had no reason not to believe that. ... He didn't live up to those expectations and it leads us to where we are."