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Former Detroit Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Taking Bribes, 4th Charged In Towing Corruption Probe

(CBS Detroit) -- A former officer with the Detroit Police Department pleaded guilty to accepting bribes, U.S. Attorney Saima S. Mohsin announced Tuesday.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 55-year-old Alonzo Jones, of Detroit, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 15, 2022.

"Investigating and prosecuting bad cops is a top priority for our office because bad cops erode the public's trust in law enforcement," Mohsin said. "The vast majority of police officers are honest, dedicated, and hard-working individuals. But police officers who line their pockets with bribes, no matter how big or small will be held accountable for their actions. Today's plea highlights our office's commitment to prosecuting those small minority of bad cops who put their own greed before their duties as police officers."

Prosecutors say Jones accepted approximately $3,200 in bribes from July 2019 through May 2021 "with the intent to be influenced and rewarded in connection with his duties overseeing and running the Detroit Police Vehicle Auction."

Officials say Jones is the fourth person charged as part of an investigation known as "Operation Northern Hook," which looks into corruption within the government and police department in Detroit related to the towing industry.

"A law enforcement officer accepting bribes undermines the rule of law and will always be vigorously investigated. Today, Mr. Jones pled guilty to conduct that is not representative of the men and women of the Detroit Police Department who serve with honor day in and day out," said Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of FBI's Detroit Field Office.

Two other police officers, including a lieutenant who worked in the integrity unit, are accused of taking bribes to break rules and steer cars to a favored towing company, according to an indictment last month.

Lt. John Kennedy is accused of accepting more than $14,000 in cash, cars, and car repairs from a towing company as an undercover federal agent. The government said he was supposed to be investigating the towing company.

Officer Daniel Vickers accepted $3,400, according to the indictment. Both were charged with bribery and conspiracy.

In September, Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting that he and an aide accepted nearly $36,000 in bribes related to oversight of towing.

Detroit Police Chief James White recently announced proposed changes to eliminate corruption in the towing industry.

Some of those changes included new computer software used to track and audit towing businesses, all towing companies needing to apply for a new contract, and a new app to be developed for those requesting towing services so they know how much it will cost.

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