Thursday, August 26, 2021

A fitting ‘Honor’

Police training facility named

for former judge, city attorney

Mayor William Wild, left, Charles Bokos and
Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik display the
plaque awarded to Bokus during the ceremony.
Two revered names in the City of Westland were honored last week when the Police Community Training Center was dedicated to retired Honorable Judge C. Charles Bokos and the late longtime City Attorney Angelo A. Plakas.

The Westland Police Department was awarded a Michigan State Police Justice Assistance Grant for the new room which will be used as a training center for youth academy classes, citizens' academies, community discussions and specialized officer training. A spokesman said the room will be used to train officers in mental health first aid, fair and impartial policing, cultural diversity, de-escalation tactics and other training necessary to promote neighborhood policing. 

Bokos and Plakas were long-time law partners forming their practice in 1968. Their practice was well-known throughout the legal community for the dedication and respect each of them exhibited for both the law and each other.

Charles Bokos, daughter, Andrea, and wife, Hilda, are all
smiles  during the recent dedication ceremony in
 Westland honoring Bokos and the late Angleo Plakas.
Bokos graduated from Wayne State University in 1961 where he earned his bachelor's degree was awarded his LLM and Juris Doctor degree in 1964 from Wayne State School of Law. He was admitted to the state bar in 1965 and began the general practice of law.

Angelo A. Plakas, born and raised in Detroit, the son of Greek immigrants, graduated in 1960 from the University of Detroit.  Mr. Plakas went on to be a history teacher at Plymouth High School, where he was twice voted by the students as “Teacher of the Year.” While teaching, Plakas put himself through law school, taking classes during the evenings at Wayne State, and ultimately receiving his law degree in 1967.

Their law partnership spanned nearly 25 years and in1976, Bokos was appointed as Westland city attorney, with Mr. Plakas serving as assistant city attorney. Their firm represented the City of Westland in all legal matters for many years including the handling of the prosecution of crimes at the 18th District Court.

In 1992, the governor named Bokos to the coveted judgeship at the 18th District Court in Westland. Following that initial appointment, Bokos was re-elected by voters to the position multiple times and served as a Westland judge until his retirement in 2012.

He and his wife, Hilda, now reside in Florida, but returned for the dedication last week.

Mr. Plakas received the appointment as Westland city attorney in 1992, and later represented Westland in a complicated lawsuit that resulted in the award of significant state funding to the city. Those funds were used to construct the William P. Faust Public Library.  Mr. Plakas served as city attorney until his death in 2010.

The families of Bokos and Plakas include five children, all of whom attended the same high school. The men's professional partnership was exceeded only by their deep and life-long friendship. Bokos is the godfather to Plakas' daughter and the families remain close.  Five other attorneys who learned the practice of law while under the guidance of these two men have gone on to serve as judges in different communities throughout Wayne County, including Mr. Plakas' son, James, who serves as a judge at the 35th District Court in Plymouth.

A police spokesman said the dedication was a tribute to the two men who established the reputation of Westland and the court as one of the finest in the state. The celebratory dedication took place last week, hosted at the new facility by members of the Westland Police Community Partnership.