Royal Oak police chief retires, deputy chief named interim

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published December 22, 2021

 Corrigan O’Donohue

Corrigan O’Donohue

 Michael Moore

Michael Moore

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ROYAL OAK — After nearly 29 years of serving the Royal Oak Police Department, Police Chief and Assistant City Manager Corrigan O’Donohue opted to retire when his contract with the city expired earlier this month.

O’Donohue, who was hired as a patrol officer in 1993, rose through the ranks and became police chief in 2011. He will continue to provide consulting services to ease the transition through May 2022.

In a written statement emailed to C & G Newspapers, O’Donohue said he will always be “extremely grateful” for the many opportunities he had while working with the Police Department. He also thanked the men and women of the department, both civilian and sworn; his colleagues in the city and district court; and the countless community members he met throughout his tenure.

“The Royal Oak Police Department is one of Michigan’s premier law enforcement agencies and it was the greatest honor of my life to serve as Chief of Police for the past 11 years,” O’Donohue wrote. “The decision to retire was not an easy one to make, but it is the right time for both the department and for me personally.”

City Manager Paul Brake was O’Donohue’s direct supervisor and worked with him for a little over a year and a half. During that time, Brake listed a number of significant accomplishments in which O’Donohue played a key role, including the construction and completion of the new Police Department.

“It’s a very successful model in terms of (it being) a state-of-the-art facility (that) really brings about greater efficiency and less energy use,” Brake said.

O’Donohue also worked with outside groups who advocated for the public safety millage proposal, which voters approved in November and includes a levy of up to 3.975 mills to support police, fire and emergency services in the city.

Brake added that O’Donohue selected and promoted command officers who provide the current leadership in the department in 2015, when the city approved a special contract and additional compensation for him to also serve as assistant city manager; prior to that, no such leadership structure existed.

“He has a strong reputation among his peers regionally and statewide,” Brake said.

He referenced O’Donohue’s election by his peers to leadership positions in the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, the Southeastern Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Oakland County Association of Chiefs of Police.

He said O’Donohue will remain involved with special projects, such as finishing the installation of the new parking system and fixing some issues with the new police building that need to be addressed under the warranty period, through May.

Moving forward, Brake said the city would decide how to proceed with selecting the next police chief after the hubbub of the holidays.

Deputy Chief Michael Moore, who has served the Police Department for more than 20 years, stepped into the role of interim police chief and will oversee the two main divisions of the department: staff service and patrol operations.

Brake said Moore is the most senior member of the Police Department.

“I have confidence in his leadership ability in moving the department forward,” Brake said. “Mike Moore has a very distinguished career and has worked up through the ranks.”

Moore has held the rank of patrol officer, field training officer, detective, task force officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, sergeant, patrol lieutenant, commander of the Professional Standards Unit and deputy chief.

In his statement, O’Donohue praised Moore as “a very smart and capable leader.”

“Under his leadership I know the department will continue to excel. He will be supported by the men and women of the Royal Oak Police Department who are, without question, the best in the business,” he wrote. “I will always be available to provide any advice or support that may be needed to the City of Royal Oak and Interim Police Chief Mike Moore as he steps into this new role.”

In a Dec. 14 phone interview with C & G Newspapers, Moore said he is hopeful that the city will make his role as chief permanent.

After graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Moore joined the Royal Oak Police Department and has never left. When he was on the midnight shift, he also went back to MSU for a master’s degree in criminology.

He said his family — his wife and daughters, ages 16 and 11 — have always been supportive of his job, even when he had to travel for long periods of time to help the DEA investigate drug cases out of state.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Moore said. “What I want to do is focus on moving forward in a positive direction, continue to build off what Chief O’Donohue did, and look forward to challenges as they come along.”

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