Grosse Pointe City’s Officer of the Year has passion for detective work

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 22, 2023

 From left, Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Detective Michael Narduzzi is recognized as Officer of the Year by City Public Safety Director John Alcorn during a Feb. 27 City Council meeting.

From left, Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Detective Michael Narduzzi is recognized as Officer of the Year by City Public Safety Director John Alcorn during a Feb. 27 City Council meeting.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE CITY — He might be fresh from having been named the Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Department’s Officer of the Year, but Detective Michael Narduzzi isn’t resting on his laurels.

Just over a week after receiving his department’s top honor during a Feb. 27 Grosse Pointe City Council meeting, Narduzzi was roused at home at around 1 a.m. March 8 to come in because officers were fighting a four-alarm blaze in Grosse Pointe Park and were needed to handle road patrols, as everyone on the City’s night shift was at the fire scene.

More than 13 hours later, Narduzzi was still on the job — by then in his office, going over a multitude of pending cases. Besides working the road that night, he helped out at the fire.

“Everybody who was there did a really good job,” said Narduzzi of the massive blaze, which destroyed one business but was prevented from spreading by the diligence of his colleagues.

Fighting fires is in Narduzzi’s genes. His grandfather, father and one of his brothers were all Detroit firefighters. His dad, Richard L. Narduzzi, was a battalion chief when he retired; he died about two years ago.

But Narduzzi, who grew up on Detroit’s east side, initially went into law enforcement, working for the Detroit Police Department from 1994 to 1996.

“I needed a job, and I thought it would be fun to chase bad guys,” Narduzzi quipped.

A friend who was working in Grosse Pointe Park told him about an opening with the Park Public Safety Department. Narduzzi applied and was hired there in April 1996.

“I wanted to be a firefighter, too, like my dad and grandfather,” Narduzzi said.

Although he liked being on the road, Narduzzi was eager to tackle something new, which led him to become a detective circa 2009.

“Mentally, I was stagnant,” Narduzzi said. “I needed a greater challenge. And the detective bureau was the answer. It’s a challenge, and you can have a greater impact on people’s lives in a positive way.”

It allowed him to work on a variety of cases, including the high-profile trial of Grosse Pointe Park businessman Robert Bashara, who was convicted of having his wife, Jane, murdered. Narduzzi also worked on the case of serial rapist and murderer Darian Winfield, who was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes in multiple communities.

“I think I’ve done a decent job over the years,” Narduzzi said. “It’s a job that requires teamwork. No one can do it alone.”

After 25 years in the Park, Narduzzi retired as a detective and sergeant on Aug. 20, 2021. Less than two weeks later — on Aug. 30 — he was working as a detective next door in Grosse Pointe City.

“I still enjoy it,” said Narduzzi, now 55. “I still have a passion for it. I enjoy catching the bad guys. It’s more than collecting a paycheck. You really do help people.”

When an officer retires from another department, as Narduzzi did, that person would typically enter a new department at the starting rank of officer. However, Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Director John Alcorn wanted to harness Narduzzi’s detective background in the City, so Narduzzi was hired in as a detective.

“Although he’s a fantastic road officer, his skills would have been wasted on the midnight shift,” Alcorn said.

Narduzzi said he couldn’t do what he does without the work of his fellow officers.

“We’re really here to support them and follow up on their work,” Narduzzi said. “Patrol is the backbone of the department.”

He said he appreciates the fact that every day is different and every case is different. With his educational background — Narduzzi double-majored in criminal justice and psychology at Michigan State University — he’s uniquely suited to detective work.

“Every day, Mike shows up with an enthusiasm that would scare me if I were a criminal,” Alcorn said.

That tenaciousness translated into Narduzzi scoring the most arrests of any officer in the department last year, Alcorn said.

“He’s filling roles at every level of the department, and he’s a joy to work with,” Alcorn said.

That includes sharing his knowledge and experience with newer officers and training them.

“He takes it personally, and that’s great for our department,” Alcorn said. “He’s also a fantastic firefighter.”

Mayor Sheila Tomkowiak echoed Alcorn’s sentiments, saying the honor was “well deserved.”

Narduzzi is much more modest about being named Officer of the Year, though.

“I was honored that they chose me for it,” Narduzzi said. “I don’t know that I felt more worthy of it than anyone else. Individual awards kind of make me uncomfortable. Nobody can do this job by themselves.”