Sgt. Barber heads up special events detail
Posted on 07/22/2021
Sgt. Thomas Barber Thomas Barber was promoted to sergeant of road patrol (effective Aug. 1, 2021), taking on administrative duties, supervising and training a team of officers, and continuing to perform community policing by meeting residents and business owners, and patrolling city streets and the business area.

He joins colleagues Sgts. Ken DeLano and Andrew Kirby in that role. He is in charge of handling the manpower and street closures for parades and special events. He was on patrol for the Independence Day parade and was impressed by the turnout. “It was awesome to see that many people around,” he said.

For those special events, he will coordinate with neighboring agencies – Northville Township. Novi and Wayne County – along with the Northville Chamber of Commerce, and the Department of Public Works to make sure the parade route is managed well and that pedestrians stay safe by redirecting traffic.

A 2009 graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s Criminology Program and a veteran of the Baltimore Police Academy, his goal as a police officer is to deal effectively with criminals, protect the victims and deploy methods that prevent crime. He joined the force in December 2017 after six years as an officer in the Baltimore Police Dept.

After a year of dealing with COVID-19 (pre-vaccination) and offering service but being wary of catching the novel coronavirus, he’s eager to get out in the community more by way of foot patrols and having more interactions with residents and visitors.

He likes Northville’s small town atmosphere. “People remember your name; you’re not just a uniform,” he said. “The role here is more of a community policing. It’s geared toward customer service rather than being a crime fighter.”

This type of policing fits his personality well, since he likes to talk to people and has met some really interesting people in Northville. While it doesn’t happen often, saving a life is a deeply gratifying aspect of policing. At times, it comes during an accidental overdose, at other times it’s a health crisis or at the scene of an accident.

He was named Police Officer of the Year in 2020, an award voted on by fellow officers. Despite a serious health issue that occurred in 2019 and continued into 2020, he was able to keep a positive attitude while working through a pandemic and undergoing treatment.

Statewide, during 2020 with the rise of COVID-19, DUIs (driving while intoxicated) were up as were overdoses, but Northville’s numbers held steady. Now DUIs are called OWIs – operating while intoxicated.

Barber is intent on preventing crime before it happens by being present – which gives people second thoughts about committing a crime – and by patrolling through subdivisions and downtown.

Having worked in a high crime and high incident area of Baltimore, he prides himself on maintaining his cool and not letting a rush of adrenaline sway his response. As an officer, he’s used to having a camera on him, which dates back to his time in Baltimore when they were testing them out. “It’s a valuable tool and asset to have, especially when writing reports or when you get into a ‘he said, she said’ situation."

He and his wife Laura have two daughters, 7 and nearly 4, and live in Waterford.