DETROIT (WXYZ) — "The sheriff, he's not my boss. He was my big brother. He's a part of my life, my whole career," said Mike Jaafar, chief of operations for the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and dear friend to the late Sheriff Benny Napoleon. "He watched my kids grow up. He watched my daughters go to college. My son, 13 years old –– devastated. So for me, it's very personal... very."
Jaafar, like so many other people who knew and loved Napoleon, remains stunned that the charismatic man who touched so many lives is gone.
"I'm still trying to process it. I really am," Jaafar told 7 Action News."I want to smack myself and say it's not real."
Sheriff Benny Napoleon passed away in the hospital a week before Christmas after a battle with COVID-19.
Napoleon's only child, Tiffani Jackson, greeted those who came to Swanson Funeral Home Monday to pay their final respects to her father.
"We were just inside and we were saying how unbelievable it was that this is our lives right now," said Jackson as she recalled a moment she shared with her aunt and a cousin.
"I've said it a million times, from the moment he was hospitalized until today –– the support has been overwhelming and we're so appreciative," Jackson said about those who came to honor her dad, some saluting him one last time.
"It's amazing and unbelievable at the same time," she added.
Monday's viewing and visitation at Swanson ends at 8 p.m. A second viewing and visitation will take place Tuesday at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A private funeral for the family will take place on Wednesday.
Click on the video to hear from Napoleon's family and friends.