Reed Ladd shakes hands with his dad, Mike Ladd, after the swearing-in ceremony.

Reed Ladd shakes hands with his dad, Mike Ladd, after the swearing-in ceremony.

Photo by Charity Meier

Novi Police Department swears in 2 new officers

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published June 7, 2023

 Officer Justin Petrill gets a hug from his aunt, Vicki Azzopardi, after being sworn in.

Officer Justin Petrill gets a hug from his aunt, Vicki Azzopardi, after being sworn in.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


NOVI — On May 22, two new officers were sworn in as members of the Novi Police Department.

Officers Reed Ladd and Justin Petrill had graduated from the Schoolcraft College Police Academy May 18, having already been hired and sponsored by the Novi Police Department.

“Every graduation at this particular school, they always tell the class that is graduating that you’re about to have a front row seat to the greatest show on Earth, and that is very true. … It truly is the greatest show on Earth, and I think it is the greatest job that anybody could ever have,” said Novi Police Chief Erick Zinser during the swearing-in ceremony. “We do this job because we have a passion for it and recognize that people need help, and we are the ones that they call 24 hours a day.”

Ladd, 22, of Dexter, and Petrill, 23, of Wixom, both attended Michigan State University at the same time but never met until they were hired last year by Novi. The two became fast friends during the academy and remain so today.   

The two took different paths to their careers in policing. For Petrill, it was something he had always wanted to do. His grandfather, William Carlton, and great-grandfather, Luby Carlton, had both been Detroit police officers. He grew up hearing stories from his grandfather about his experiences on the force, and Petrill’s mother, Lori, said he was inspired by them.

Petrill recalled that one of his earliest memories of police officers occurred when he was just 5 years old. A Wixom police officer stopped by his house during his older brother’s birthday party and offered rides to the children. He said he remembers that experience quite fondly and credits that, as well, for his early desire to join the force.

Petrill graduated from MSU with a degree in social science with a minor in criminal justice. He interned for the Wixom Police Department and went on to start his Novi police career as a cadet. He said that by working as a cadet, he got a better understanding of how a police department operates.

“I always knew that I wanted a different kind of job. Not one where it’s, like, 9-5, working (at the) same place at the same time,” said Petrill.

Petril said he chose to apply to work for the Novi Police Department because he grew up in the area.

Ladd said he always had an interest in law enforcement but submitted to the pressure to get a versatile degree, so he earned a degree in advertising. He later decided that the business world was not for him, so he decided to join the Police Department. He also has an aunt who worked as a police officer in Meridian Township.

“My main goal is to just serve the community in the best way that I can, communicate with people; hopefully, give them a good experience with the Police Department, because, obviously, right now in this day and age, people don’t think too highly (of police officers),”  Ladd said. “I know I can’t change everybody’s mind, but if I can change one person’s mind, that would be good.”

The two officers said they were fortunate to be hired by Novi, which not only paid their approximately $7,500 tuition, but also gave them a police officer’s wage as they worked toward completing the program. They said that during the academy they had the opportunity to be maced and stunned with a Taser. Although not mandatory, they both agreed that the brief suffering allowed them to have a better understanding of the tools they use as officers and compassion for those they use them against.

Reed’s mother said that she can see her son as a motorcycle officer, as he loves to ride motorcycles and they ride motorcycles as a family. She said they often ride across the state, well into the Upper Peninsula, on motorcycles.

“He really is just a great kid. He is very diplomatic and calm. He is an excellent communicator,” Christina Ladd said of her son. She said she always knew he was thinking about becoming an officer, but she encouraged him to complete his degree first. Coincidentally, having a bachelor’s degree is a requirement to join the Novi Police Department.

“I’m not surprised at all that he landed here. It is a little scary to me, but he is a pretty level-headed person,” said Christina Ladd.

Lori Petrill said she is very proud of her son’s career choice and not surprised because her son has always liked helping people. She recalled a time in middle school when her son saw an older woman struggling to brush snow off her car, and he ran over to help her. She said that’s the type of person he is.   

“He is kind of a social guy, although he comes off as very reserved at first. He is a very social person, and he has always helped people,” she said. “I think that kind of job for him is perfect. He is a good soul. He has a good heart.”

She thinks he could be a very good detective and K-9 handler, following in the footsteps of his friend and Novi Police Officer of the Year Detective Shawn Penzak, who he met at a local gym.

Penzak said he knew Petrill was a good person, but it took him by surprise when he said that he wanted to get into police work. He said that Petrill was always quiet and when he first met him, it was tough to get a few words out of him.

“The police family, we are all a little outgoing and a little loud at times. He wasn’t, and I think that that reservation that he had was more of him just being respectful, and that’s why it surprised me, because he just kept to himself,” said Penzak. “Police officers have to be out there engaging. I just didn’t know that he had the desire to do it.”

Penzak and his wife, Hailey, who is also an officer, proudly watched as Petrill and Ladd were sworn in.

When asked what their favorite moment so far has been on the force, they both agreed that it was walking through Twelve Oaks Mall in uniform and being able to help offer directions and the like to those who asked.