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Ralph Godbee’s life can be summed up in one phrase, ”Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy.” His entire life reflects his story of servant leadership, which spans more than 30 years as a public servant. 

His family’s home was a hub of safety for young people to gather and be nurtured by wise counsel while finding their purpose; his mother and father embodied the spirit of community service. Ralph began building his life on this model, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college, be catapulted into the criminal justice arena, and ultimately follow his father into the ministry. He was destined to rely on his family's foundational pillar of civic duty and leadership. He didn’t choose service, service chose him.

And because he was chosen, he came to understand that his journey was greater than himself; faith, courage, and wisdom would ensue. At age 19 he received top honors from the Detroit Police Department for academic achievement and marksmanship from the Detroit Metropolitan Police Academy. Promotions in rank during his distinguished law enforcement career include multiple titles, and he made history when former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing appointed him Chief of Police, making him the youngest to ascend to this position in the city’s history. 

As Chief of Police, Godbee inherited the enforced Department of Justice oversight of the Detroit Police Department which had a compliance rate of 20% regarding the consent decrees for Conditions of Confinement and Use of Force by the Department of Justice. By the end of his tenure, the compliance rate was 90% and the department was awarded the termination of federal oversight shortly after. 

After retiring from the Detroit Police Department, Godbee was tapped to head the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Police Force. Under his leadership there was a reduction in student arrests, wrap-around services were instituted, and restorative justice and practices were implemented leading to the decriminalization of juvenile behavior by 130%. 

Each accomplishment drove him to do more, become more, and evolve into a renewed Ralph - the man, father, and grandfather whose life’s purpose today is even more deeply defined by civic duty; for him, it’s personal. As the current Executive Pastor for Triumph Church, he combines his passion for ministry with community service; the people’s issues are his issues. He speaks out about those concerns we all have in common: losing hard-earned property to flooding, the need for business revitalization, ensuring that COVID funding is equitably distributed, and safe schools for our children, to name a few. Anyone who knows Ralph Godbee will say that he is truly a man living a life of purpose. His political campaign’s platform focuses on quality of life, union strength, criminal justice reform, and voting rights. He has never forgotten his community commitments and is on a mission to be a champion for families as he offers the best of himself to protect, and serve.