David Leonard is the author of Real Cop, A Memoir of a Career Street Officer. Leonard served as a police officer for over 27 years. He spent most of his career in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a Midwestern city of 200,000 people.
A Grand Rapids native, Leonard graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Grand Valley State University in 1989. He began his career in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff in Michigan’s Montcalm County, before returning to Grand Rapids. Leonard served the Grand Rapids Police Department from 1991-2017.
Active in the police labor movement for most of his career, Leonard was instrumental in establishing an independent union at GRPD in 2007, The Grand Rapids Police Officers Association (GRPOA). He was the GRPOA’s first president. David was also active in establishing the union’s political action committee. Additionally, Leonard sat on the boards of the Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO) and Grand Rapids’ Friends of Labor. Now retired from law enforcement, Leonard lives in northern Michigan, where he is an avid outdoorsman.