Leonard, Donald S. (Donald Sparling), 1903-1976.

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Michigan Director of Civil Defense, 1943-1952; Commissioner of the Michigan State Police, 1947-1952; Detroit Police Commissioner, 1952-1954; Republican candidate for governor in 1954; officer in various police organizations, including the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police; chairman of the Liquor Control Commission, 1964-1966; and Detroit Recorder's Court Judge, 1966-1976.

From the description of Donald S. Leonard papers, 1925-1966. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34421855

Commissioner of the Michigan State Police, 1947-1952.

From the description of Donald S. Leonard Michigan State Police files [microform], 1932-1954. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34420883

Donald S. Leonard was one of the nation's most respected law enforcement officers during the 1940s and 1950s. During a long and varied career which spanned fifty years of service, Leonard was party to the professionalization of the State Police and the development within the state of modern police methods. His particular interests in law enforcement included police communications, the legal aspect of police work, and civil defense procedures.

Leonard was both police officer and public servant. He worked as Michigan Civil Defense Director during World War II, was appointed State Police Commissioner in 1947, and Detroit Police Commissioner in 1952. During the 1950s, Leonard was active in Republican Party politics in Michigan, running unsuccessfully three times for governor: in 1952, 1954, and 1956. Retiring from police work and party politics, Leonard continued his public service into the 1960s and 1970s first as Liquor Control Commission chairman, later as Detroit Recorder's Court Judge.

Donald S. Leonard was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1903. Following graduation from Northern High School, he attended Wayne University where he received a bachelor of arts degree in 1925 and a bachelor of laws degree in 1931. It was while attending college in 1923 that Leonard first joined the Michigan State Police as a trooper, partially as a means of financing his way through school. At Wayne, Leonard was elected president of his class for four consecutive years and lobbied successfully to change the school from a two year to a four year college. In addition, Leonard did graduate work at the University of Michigan Law School during the period of 1933-1934.

After his graduation, Leonard remained with the state police. He rose to the rank of captain in 1930; and in 1934, he became district commander of the Second District, which had responsibility for the metropolitan Detroit area. In 1945, Leonard was promoted to superintendent of the Uniform Division; and in 1946, he was appointed acting commissioner. In 1947, Governor Kim Sigler, who had been elected on a platform of "Cleaning up" state government, turned to Leonard to improve the administration and efficiency of the state police. After nearly twenty-five years of service with the state police, Leonard was appointed state police commissioner, succeeding long-time incumbent, Oscar Olander.

During his career with the state police, Leonard was active in many police organization, including the Southeastern Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP), and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), all of which he served as president at various times. Leonard also served as a member of the Permanent Legislative Committee, a lobbying organization for Michigan police chiefs, sheriffs, circuit judges, and prosecuting attorneys. As an early advocate of the use of radio in police work, Leonard was member of the Associated Police Communications Officers and the IACP's radio and communications committees.

During World War II, Leonard took on numerous positions in the field of civil defense. In the summer of 1941, when he was member of an American civil defense mission, he toured England observing the effects of German bombing and examining the organization of English civil defense. After his return to the United States, he became a special consultant to Fiorello LaGuardia, U.S. Director of Civil Defense. In 1942, Leonard was appointed director of the Civilian Protection Division, Michigan Council of Defense, and State Commander of U.S. Citizens' Defense Corps of Michigan. In 1943, he was promoted to administrator of the Michigan Council of Defense following the resignation of Harold A. Furlong. After a reorganization, Leonard became director of civil defense, a post he held until 1951, when he was succeeded by Lester J. Maitland. During the period of 1943-1948, Leonard also served as state fuel administrator and chairman of the Governor's Fuel Committee.

In 1952, Leonard retired from the Michigan State Police to run for governor. He was succeeded as State Police Commissioner by Joseph A. Childs. In the 1952 Republican primary, Leonard ran against Fred M. Alger and William C. Vandenberg, but was defeated by Alger.

After the election, Leonard was appointed Detroit Police Commissioner by Mayor Albert E. Cobo, a position he held until 1954 when he resigned to run for governor once again. In 1954, Leonard defeated three other candidates in the Republican primary, but was defeated by Governor G. Mennen Williams in the general election.

In 1956, Leonard again ran for governor. This time he was defeated in the republican primary by Albert E. Cobo. After his retirement from the Detroit Police Department, Leonard entered private legal practice and did consulting work for various police agencies. In 1959 he ran for Detroit Recorder's Court judge but was defeated. He was appointed to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission by Governor George Romney in 1963, and served as chairman until 1966, when he resigned and was elected to Detroit Recorder's Court.

In addition to his other activities, Leonard served on numerous committees, including the Michigan Bar Association's Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, the Detroit Bar Association's Committee on Civil Rights, and the Detroit Board of Education's Committee on Equal Educational Opportunities. Leonard also taught law course at the State Police Recruit School and Metropolitan Police Academy of Michigan.

Leonard died in 1976.

From the guide to the Donald S. Leonard Papers, 1925-1966, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Shartel, Burke Woods, 1889-1967. Burke Woods Shartel papers, 1901-1959. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Burke Woods Shartel papers, 1901-1959 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Leonard, Donald S. (Donald Sparling), 1903-1976. Donald S. Leonard papers, 1925-1966. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Leonard, Donald S. (Donald Sparling), 1903-1976. Donald S. Leonard Michigan State Police files [microform], 1932-1954. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Donald S. Leonard Papers, 1925-1966 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Wilber M. Brucker Papers, 1877-1968 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Associated Police Communications Officers. corporateBody
associatedWith Baird, Andrew C. person
associatedWith Black, Eugene F., 1903- person
associatedWith Bowles, Chester, 1901- person
associatedWith Brucker, Wilber Marion, 1894-1968 person
associatedWith Childs, Joseph A. person
associatedWith Chotiner, Murray M., 1909-1974 person
associatedWith Cobo, Albert Eugene, 1893-1957 person
associatedWith Davis, Elmer Holmes, 1890-1958 person
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Citizens Advisory Committee on Equal Educational Opportunities. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Police Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Police Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Detroit (Mich.). Recorder's Court. corporateBody
associatedWith Dickinson, Luren Dudley, 1859-1943 person
associatedWith Dillinger, John, 1903-1934 person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969 person
associatedWith Feikens, John, 1917- person
associatedWith Ferguson, Homer, 1889-1982 person
associatedWith Ford, Gerald R., 1913- person
associatedWith Ford, Gerald Rudolph, 1889-1962 person
associatedWith Ford Motor Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965 person
associatedWith Furlong, Harold Arthur, 1895- person
associatedWith Gaines, Harry Robert, 1891-1974 person
associatedWith Green, Fred Warren, 1872-1936 person
associatedWith Hart, Philip A. (Philip Aloysius), 1912-1976 person
associatedWith Hooper, Warren G. person
associatedWith Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972 person
associatedWith International Association of Chiefs of Police. corporateBody
associatedWith Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, 1909- person
associatedWith Kelly, Harry F. (Harry Francis), 1895-1971 person
associatedWith La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947 person
associatedWith Maitland, Lester J. person
associatedWith Marshall, S. L. A. (Samuel Lyman Atwood), 1900-1977 person
associatedWith Mazey, Emil, 1913- person
associatedWith Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan Bar Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Constitutional Convention (1961-1962) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Liquor Control Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Office of Civil Defense. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. Office of Director of Civilian Defense. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan State Bar Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. State Crime Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan. State Crime Commission (1929-1930) corporateBody
associatedWith Michigan State Police. corporateBody
associatedWith Milliken, William G., 1922- person
associatedWith Ness, Eliot, 1903-1957 person
associatedWith Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913- person
associatedWith Olander, Oscar G. (Oscar Gustaf), 1899-1963 person
associatedWith Potter, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1916-1979 person
associatedWith Republican Party (Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Reuther, Victor George, 1912- person
associatedWith Reuther, Victor G. (Victor George), 1912- person
associatedWith Reuther, Walter, 1907-1970. person
associatedWith Scholle, August, 1904-1972 person
associatedWith Shakespeare Company (Kalamazoo, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Shartel, Burke Woods, 1889-1967. person
associatedWith Sigler, Kim, b. 1894 person
associatedWith Sojourner Truth Homes (Detroit, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith State Prison of Southern Michigan. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities. corporateBody
associatedWith Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951 person
associatedWith Vandercook, Roy C., 1873- person
associatedWith Van Wagoner, Murray Delos, 1898- person
associatedWith Waite, John Barker, 1882- person
associatedWith Walsh, Frank R. person
associatedWith Williams, G. Mennen, 1911- person
associatedWith Ziegler, Charles M., 1888-1959 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Chicago (Ill.)
Japan
Michigan
Michigan
Detroit (Mich.)
Detroit (Mich.)
Flint (Mich.)
Great Britain.
Japan.
Great Britain
Port Huron (Mich.)
Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.)
Subject
Elections--1954
Elections--1956
Riots
Political elections--1954
Law enforcement--Michigan
Police--Michigan
Judges
Laboratories
Elections--Michigan--1952
Strikes and lockouts
Automobiles
World War, 1939-1945
Radio broadcasting--Michigan
Horses
Strikes
Elections--Michigan--1954
Airplanes
Strikes and lockouts--Michigan
Civil defense--Great Britain
Politics and government--1946-1960
Elections--1952
Police
Radio broadcasting
Korean War, 1950-1953
Judges--Michigan--Detroit
Political elections--1952
African Americans
Tornadoes
Wiretapping
Civil defense
Motorcycles
Law enforcement
Elections--Michigan--1956
Civil defense--Illinois--Chicago
Communism
Afro--Americans--Michigan
Crime
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1903

Death 1976

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