Slain deputy remembered as selfless, dedicated

Undercover officer killed in ambush by suspected car thieves

By: Andy Kozlowski | C&G Newspapers | Published June 24, 2024 | Updated June 27, 2024 8:14am

 Bradley J. Reckling, a deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, seen with his wife and three daughters, was killed June 22 by suspected car thieves in Detroit. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child. To donate to the family, visit and scroll down to “Mission Oakland.”

Bradley J. Reckling, a deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, seen with his wife and three daughters, was killed June 22 by suspected car thieves in Detroit. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child. To donate to the family, visit and scroll down to “Mission Oakland.”

Photo provided by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office


MADISON HEIGHTS — While searching for a vehicle stolen at the Red Oaks Water Park in Madison Heights, an undercover officer with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office was confronted and gunned down in Detroit by the suspects he was tracking.

Bradley J. Reckling, 30, a decorated deputy, leaves behind a pregnant wife and three daughters ages 5, 4 and 1. Three suspects are now in custody. At press time, their names had not been released.

“As a parent, I can’t imagine the pain that his wife and family are experiencing right now,” said Oakland County Commissioner Ann Erickson Gault.

The shooting occurred shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, June 22 on Detroit’s northeast side. Reckling and two other detectives from Oakland County’s Auto Theft Unit were in separate unmarked cars searching for a Chevrolet Equinox reported stolen at the Red Oaks Water Park earlier that day. They had traced the missing vehicle to Detroit, and Reckling was the first to spot it.

However, while the other detectives were on their way to the scene, at least one of the three suspects stepped out of the stolen vehicle and opened fire. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard described the maneuver as an “ambush.” Reckling was shot multiple times and died at a hospital shortly thereafter.

Officers with the Detroit Police Department and Michigan State Police troopers quickly learned of the shooting and formed a perimeter around the area. The suspects were arrested and taken into custody.

Hired in April 2015, Reckling received multiple honors in his nearly 10 years at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, including commendations for saving lives, meritorious service and professional excellence. He had been assigned to the Rochester Hills substation, but had recently transferred to the Auto Theft Unit.

In a series of statements issued by Bouchard, he and other members of the department testified to Reckling’s character and the impact of his passing.

“This agency is crushed,” Bouchard said. “If you are someone who believes in prayer, please pray for his family and this agency.

“You can see it in their eyes, how soul-crushing this is,” the sheriff added, referring to the colleagues Reckling left behind.

“Brad was always there to lend a helping hand,” said Deputy Nicholas Bohon. “He loved his family more than anything. He was a great cop, but an even better father and husband.”

“Brad was one of the most selfless colleagues, and the most dedicated husband and best father to his girls,” said Deputy Nathan Rogers, who worked with Reckling at length — first in corrections, and then studying for a promotion and graduating from the police academy together. “There’s no other way to describe him other than just the best person.”

The statement also featured Deputy Matthew Morrison, who said Reckling had spent recent months remodeling the family home for the fourth child he was expecting.

“Brad was a loving husband, father, and an amazing friend. He loved the outdoors, was an amazing fisherman, loved to deer hunt, and enjoyed growing his farm and raising animals,” Morrison said. “Anyone who knows Brad knows it doesn’t take long before he starts cracking jokes and gets him laughing. He was a great worker and an amazing friend who’d do anything for anyone. Brad was a prime example of what a great parent, husband and friend means. He was loved by many, and will truly be missed.”

Bouchard noted that Reckling’s death, which comes one week after the shooting at the splash pad in Rochester Hills that injured nine people, including three children, has taken a toll on the mental health of his staff. So, too, have incidents in recent years such as the shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University, during which deputies from Oakland County responded.

A crisis intervention team recently provided counseling to the deputies. Bouchard has also renewed calls to better fund mental health programming for the office’s first responders. The office now has a full-time position for peer-to-peer support, but the agency itself has nearly 1,500 employees.

“It’s been a challenge,” Bouchard said. “It’s like a boxer: How many punches can you get and remain standing? … (The officers) see these things every day. You can’t just un-see tragedies.”

Gault said that she would consider any request for additional funding the sheriff brings before her and her colleagues on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.

“I am absolutely in favor of doing everything we can to provide mental health support, not just for our employees but for the entirety of Oakland County. It’s a signature goal of mine to expand and improve access to mental health care treatment. Mental health care is health care, and we should provide it, openly and freely, to everyone who needs it,” Gault said. “I, myself, have seen how the availability of good mental health care can make a difference in people’s lives.”

Those who wish to support Reckling’s family can donate at by scrolling down to the “Mission Oakland” donation page. One hundred
percent of the donations will go
to Reckling’s family.