GRPD officer receives honor years after controversy

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids police officer who once made headlines for the wrong reasons is now receiving one of the department’s top honors.  

The Grand Rapids Police Department announced officer Thomas Warwick as the 2019 Patrol Officer of the Year. The honor comes just a few years after Warwick found himself at the center of a controversial cover-up that cost the then-sergeant his title. 

The cover-up dates back to a November 2016 wrong-way crash involving Joshua Kuiper who was a Kent County Assistant Prosecutor at the time.

Kuiper was under the influence of alcohol and was driving the wrong way down Union Avenue SE when he hit a parked car, injuring its driver. 

Warwick, who was a sergeant at the time, was one of the three officers who responded to the crash. 

The three used a phone line that they thought wasn’t being recorded in deciding not to issue a breathalyzer test, giving Kuiper a traffic ticket. 

Warwick was then demoted for his actions and suspended for 160 days. 

Since returning to duty as a patrol officer, Warwick has gone above and beyond in his role to protect and serve.  

On Wednesday, GRPD announced Warwick as the 2019 Patrol Officer of the Year for his “exceptional dedication and service to the department and community.” 

Warwick went above and beyond in replacing Christmas gifts for a local family whose house caught on fire as well as organizing the Robert Kozminski Memorial Basketball Game that raised money for a fellow law enforcement family in need.  

Daniel Empson, the person who was seriously injured in the 2016 drunk driving crash, said these actions speak volumes about Warwick’s character.  

Empson told News 8 that he’d like to congratulate Warwick for all the good he’s since accomplished.  

“I would thank him for what he did and what he’s done at least over the last 2019 of making good choices and helping families and really doing what he probably set out to do initially when he became a part of the police service in this community,” Empson said. 

News 8 made multiple attempts to reach officer Warwick and GRPD for comment. A spokesperson with GRPD said the chief will be available to answer questions about Warwick’s recognition on Thursday.  

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