After a year of transitions following the passing of Clinton Township Police Chief Fred Posavetz, Dina Caringi was sworn in as Clinton Township’s first female Police Chief.
Caringi had been preparing for advancement as Posavetz and other Command staff were expected to retire in 2021.
”This year, the Chief and two Captains were all reaching the age (limit) of 65,” Caringi said. “Different promotional exams were posted. The thing that threw everything through a loop was when Chief Posavetz passed away due to COVID. He was set to retire in June, on his 65th birthday, but he passed away in March.”
Caringi took over as Chief in October when Bruce Wade, who was named Chief in April, retired. “She’s been promoted through the ranks pretty quickly,” said POLC Labor Rep. Jim Stachowski, a retired Clinton Township Police Lieutenant. “There were a lot of massive promotions in the last year.”
“It was very sudden. Starting out as Lieutenant this year, then being a Captain for six months, then ending the year as the Chief has been pretty overwhelming, but exciting at the same time,” Caringi said.
The POLC represents Clinton Township Captains, Sergeants and Lieutenants. “Of the 18 years I’ve worked with her, she’s been a hard working individual,” Stachowski said. “She’s had a very diverse career – including undercover and Patrol. She’s always worked hard at continuing her education and training, always making sure she’s the best person available. She put herself in a positon to be the most qualified for that position. She just had her 21st anniversary (with the department) this Oct. 30th.”
Caringi started her career as a 9th Precinct Detroit Police Officer in 1995, working in the Morality Unit. “I did some undercover prostitution stings,” she said. “We did liquor inspections and checked that the dancers were licensed through the City.”
A native of Clinton Township, her parents, sisters, nieces and nephew live in the community. “I just can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be the Chief of Police for the community where I grew up,” she said. “I used to be down in the rowdy zone with the students and now I’m Chief of Police. My dad and mom are in their 80s and that’s a huge thing for me having that hometown connection and being able to hopefully impact the community and department in a good way. So when it comes time for me to retire, I hope to have taken this place to an even higher level.”
The first 10 years she worked afternoons and midnights as a Clinton Township Officer. Caringi took on the Local Patrol Officers Union roles of Sergeant at Arms and Treasurer. She’s been a crisis negotiator for 13 years and a use of force and firearms instructor for 10 years. In 2011, she transferred to special investigations, working as a Narcotics Officer for two years.
She was promoted to Sergeant in 2013 and Detective Sergeant in 2015. “I was there a year, and then promoted out of the Detective Bureau as a Lieutenant over Patrol in 2016. I kind of bounced all over the place,” she said. “In 2018, I was reassigned to investigations as the Lieutenant where I oversaw criminal investigations until my promotion to Captain in May 2021.”
Caringi served as Treasurer of the Local Captain’s Association and helped negotiate a contract for the Sergeants and Lieutenants, Stachowski said.
“I was the first female Officer to promote to the rank of Lieutenant here and then Captain and the first female Chief, something I’m kind of proud of,” she said. “It’s been an amazing career so I have no complaints. I’ve had so many phenomenal mentors – people who believe in me and what I was capable of.”
She credits her brother-in-law, retired Farmington Hills Police Sgt. Scott Goosen, for inspiring her to become a Law Enforcement Officer. His experiences in police academy really sparked her interest. They served together with Detroit PD.
“We went to Northwestern Staff and Command School in 2017. We were in that class together,” she said. “It was nice to share that experience with him. That’s right around the time I thought about becoming Captain and possibly Chief so I thought it was important to finish my bachelor’s degree.”
Caringi obtained a Criminal Justice degree in 2019 from Madonna University and is pursuing a master’s degree in Leadership at Madonna. “One of the chiefs, who’s an instructor at Madonna, Director of Novi Public Safety Dave Molloy, was just fantastic throughout this whole process,” she said. “There were times where I had questions and concerns and he was always available. That support has been phenomenal and my family’s been supportive too.”
Her immediate goals include professional development of all officers through continuing college education and Northwestern Staff and Command School for Command Officers. “We have a young department with all the transpiring retirements and promotions,” she said. “I definitely want to begin the road to accreditation to the MACP (Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police).”
She plans to expand the department’s use of social media and community outreach. “The unions get together and we do community outreach like Cops and Kids, but we’ve gotten away from an open house and bike rodeo. I thought that was really impactful as a young officer,” she said. “I would like to have those types of events yearly.”
She would like to see school liaison officers active in career days and have more student interactions, like lunch with students.
“I’d love to do something a little more organized, where people can ask questions and get to know the officers as people and kind of break down the barrier and open the lines of communication with the community as well,” she said. “We have such huge support with the thank you cards and food during the holidays and throughout the year,” however, sometimes she said, “We think we get a bad rap for the mistakes of a few.”