Detroit Police

Cincinnati Police Chief has confirmed this morning that he is leaving for Detroit. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

DETROIT (AP) - A state prison on Detroit's east side will be reopened as a temporary detention center for anyone arrested in the city.

Mayor Dave Bing's office says the summer opening of the Mound Correctional Facility will free up about 40 police officers for street patrols. It was closed by the state in January 2012.

Officers currently are assigned to five police lockup facilities and a holding unit at Detroit Receiving Hospital where people who are arrested are held until their arraignments. Prisoners then are released to the Wayne County sheriff's office.

Bing's office says the five police lockups will be closed and that the Mound facility will hold up to 200 people.

The city launched an initiative last month that focuses on crime hot spots, drug arrests and enforcing traffic laws.

steve carmody

DETROIT (AP) - A number businesses plan to donate $8 million to help Detroit get 23 EMS units and 100 police cars to boost public safety and reduce response times.

Mayor Dave Bing announced the effort Monday along with racing team owner Roger Penske, who leads Penske Automotive Group.

“As local business leaders, we appreciate this opportunity to work with the mayor, and police and fire departments, to help improve safety in the neighborhoods, and our downtown," said Penske.

“We can work together to provide and drive positive momentum in our city.”

Other donors involved include Quicken Loans Inc., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Mayor Bing calls this an “unprecedented collaboration” with the city’s business community.

The money will actually go Detroit’s Downtown Development Partnership, which will lease the vehicles for the city and pay for maintenance.

But mayor Dave Bing says this isn’t about downtown.

“This is about the neighborhoods," Bing said. "So we can go out into our neighborhoods to let people know that we support them, and we have not forgotten about them.”

Violent crime in Detroit spiked last year. The city recorded 387 criminal homicides. And department cutbacks have slowed response times.

Detroiters should see the new police cars on patrol by early summer, but the EMS vehicles will take a little bit longer to arrive.

The announcement came on the same day bankruptcy attorney and turnaround specialist Kevyn Orr arrived at Detroit City Hall for his first day on the job as emergency manager. Orr takes over the finances of the largest city in the country to come under state oversight.

Bing said the timing of the announcement was a coincidence.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing joined federal, state and local law enforcement to unveil the “Detroit One” crime-fighting initiative Thursday.

The idea underpinning the effort is that a large portion of Detroit’s violent crime is committed by a relatively small number of people.

screen grab from National Geographic / YouTube

When gang violence breaks out in the roughest parts of Detroit, even the police call for help.

The gang squad is a special, paramilitary unit of the Detroit Police Department.

They're either necessarily tough, or notoriously brutal, depending on who you ask.

But if the city’s Mayor and the Police Chief have their way, the squad's days are numbered. 

Big guys with big guns

Think about it: big guys, with big guns, cruising the city’s toughest streets in the name of law and order. You know what we have here? A reality TV hit.

But dang it, a quick Google search shows the National Geographic Channel beat us to the punch.

Their “Inside Detroit Gang Squad” aired a few years ago, with all the dramatic music and drug raids you’d expect.

DETROIT (AP) - A former Detroit police officer convicted in the 1992 fatal beating of a man near a drug house has died. Larry Nevers was 72.

The Macomb County medical examiner's office says Nevers died Sunday at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. No details about the cause were immediately available, although Nevers had emphysema.

Detroit City Council
Detroit City Council / Facebook

A Detroit City Council committee is expected to discuss where Mayor Dave Bing stands in appointing a new police chief.

The status of the search to replace ex-chief Ralph Godbee is scheduled to come up Monday morning before the council's Public Health and Safety Standing Committee.

The council was awaiting a report from Bing's office.

Godbee was promoted to chief in 2010, but stepped down in October after details surfaced of a sexual relationship with a subordinate. Bing promoted Chester Logan to chief on an interim basis.

The Board of Police Commissioners selected firms to conduct a search for a new chief, but no money was immediately available in November from the city to move forward.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Three Michigan gun bills move forward

"A state Senate panel has sent three gun-related bills to the Senate floor. One bill would exempt guns made, sold, and kept in Michigan from federal regulations. Another would remove some information about guns and their owners from public information requests. And a third one makes state laws regarding gun dealers consistent with federal regulations," Jake Neher reports.

Snyder announces Michigan business grant incentives

"State officials say they have approved incentives for 14 business expansions that could generate more than $1 billion in investments and about 4,600 jobs in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder announced Wednesday the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the performance-based grants for projects across the Lower Peninsula," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit puts more police on the streets

"The Detroit Police Department is launching a major re-organization. Detroit mayor Dave Bing and police officials say the goal is to have 95% of the department staff involved in active policing, rather than administrative work," Sarah Cwiek reports.

The Detroit Police Department is launching a major re-organization to put more officers on the street.

On Wednesday, Detroit mayor Dave Bing and police officials finally unveiled the plan that’s been in the works for awhile.

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Multiple reports indicate a major shake-up is in the works for the Detroit Police Department.

The move would reportedly disband several units within the department, in order to redeploy more officers to street patrol.

That’s the type of plan some in law enforcement circles have advocated for some time.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Blue Cross Blue Shield encourages legislation in new session

"The state's largest health insurer is back encouraging action on legislation enabling its restructuring after Governor Rick Snyder vetoed it. Snyder balked last month at the bill he proposed because of language added by lawmakers preventing insurers and businesses from providing elective abortion coverage in employee health plans. Both hope the legislation without the abortion provisions will be passed and signed into law early in the legislative session that begins Wednesday," The Associated Press reports.

Detroit search for police chief stalled

"The search for a new Detroit police chief appears to have stalled. Former Detroit police chief Ralph Godbee hastily retired amidst a sex scandal in October. Under the new city charter, the Board of Police Commissioners must first select search firms to vet potential candidates for chief. Police Commissioner Jerome Warfield says they’ve done that, and sent them to the mayor's office. But they’ve gotten conflicting signals from the administration about whether there’s money to go forward. A Bing spokesman declined comment on the matter for now," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Red Wings back on ice after lockout

"Peace came to the NHL over the weekend, and now pieces need to fall in place for the Red Wings. They will start a lockout-shortened, likely 50-game season within two weeks and training camp within a week after the league and the NHL Players' Association agreed in principle early Sunday morning to a 10-year deal after a 16-hour negotiation session that ended a 113-day lockout. The new collective bargaining agreement still has to be ratified, but from management on down, the overwhelming response was one of relief," The Detroit Free Press reports.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says 13 police mini-stations will open throughout the city.

Six of them have opened today, and the rest will be in place by March.

The announcement comes on the day police confirmed the shooting deaths of four people in a home on the east side of Detroit, and a week after the city acknowledged that the number of homicides this year has already has eclipsed the total for 2011.

Each of the mini-stations will be staffed with a permanent officer, a police reservist and a community volunteer.

User: ktpupp / flickr

Many cities across the state are cutting back, and police and fire department budgets are often on the chopping block. In some cases, citizens have taken safety matters into their own hands, through neighborhood patrols. The aim is to observe what's going on in the community, and call the police if anything usual is noted.

Coach Muhammad is president of the community patrol of the Grandmont neighborhood, in northwest Detroit. He volunteers 40 hours a week to keep his neighborhood safe.

As part of Michigan Radio's Seeking Change series. Muhammad talks with Morning Edition host Christina Shockley about what his patrol has been able to do for his neighborhood.

Patricia Drury / flickr

The top ranks of Detroit's police department are getting reshuffled.

Mayor Dave Bing announced the plan today. He says the appointment of two new assistant chiefs, along with some high-level reassignments and promotions, will make the department more efficient and responsive.

"We're all concerned about the safety of the people here in this city and we've made these recommendation new leadership, and we think we're going to see results immediately," Bing said.

The department is struggling to keep a lid on crime as it deals with a string of internal sex scandals.

If I began exhibiting clear signs that I could no longer take care of myself, eventually something would happen.

I might get myself killed or locked up. Thousands of people suffer such fates every year.  But in more fortunate cases, incompetent people have legal guardians appointed for them.

Sometimes, they are declared wards of the state. The idea is to prevent them from doing themselves, or anyone else, any harm.

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has suspended Police Chief Ralph Godbee.

“After learning of the allegations regarding Chief Ralph Godbee, I have placed him on a 30-day suspension pending a full and thorough investigation of this matter," Bing said in a statement released Tuesday.

The "allegations" come from a Detroit police officer, Angelica Robinson, who says she was sexually involved with Godbee.

Detroit Firehouse / via facebook

Detroit’s first responders say they’re under siege from all angles—and some officers say their ranks are reaching a breaking point.

Detroit’s police and fire departments have taken some steep cuts in the past few months. Police officers in particular have taken major pay and benefit cuts, and are now working twelve-hour shifts.

And relations with city leaders have turned downright hostile. At a community meeting with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing last week, that anger boiled over.

A community meeting with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing came to an abrupt and early end last night.

Bing and members of his administration were booed and heckled offstage after about 20 minutes.

Before the meeting broke down, Bing took questions from a few people. Most were angry questions, about issues ranging from the city’s lagging bus system, to a proposal to let the state lease Belle Isle.

The city of Detroit held its annual memorial service to commemorate the September 11th terrorist attacks Tuesday.

A mournful bagpipe solo captured the somber spirit at the event in downtown Campus Martius Park. With speeches, music and prayer, it remembered victims of the tragedy, and honored the first responders who saved lives that day.

Robert Foley, special-agent-in-charge of the FBI in Detroit, said the 11th anniversary should “renew our resolve” to prevent future attacks. But he says it’s tricky to figure out just how much success we’ve had.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.
Kate Davidson / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is lamenting cutting police officers' pay by 10 percent to help shore up the city's finances.

The Detroit Free Press reported on his remarks today, a day after a judge ruled the city could make the cuts and implement 12-hour work shifts:

“This 10% cut that’s been imposed … does not make me feel good at all,” Bing said. “I know the negative impact that it has on individuals and their families, and I wish that we at a better situation where I didn’t have to do it. But in order to bring our city back to financial stability, there’s pain that’s going around for all of us.”

Bing said he hopes the pay cuts and longer shifts are only temporary while the city works to get out from under a mountain of debt.

City leaders slashed $75 million from the police department’s 2012-13 budget.

The cuts were challenged by the Detroit Police Officers Association

But yesterday, Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen MacDonald lifted an injunction allowing the cuts to go forward.

Detroit's Police Chief praised officers for staying on despite the cuts, but Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports that "one detective-sergeant says figuring a way out of the department is a daily topic of conversation among officers."

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Ballot rulings expected Friday

"The state Supreme Court is expected to rule Friday on challenges to four questions that could go on the November ballot. The challenges focused on the wording of the proposals, and whether they fully explain how they would change the Michigan Constitution.The questions at issue would guarantee collective bargaining rights in the state constitution, allow an expansion of non-tribal casinos, require two-thirds super-majorities for the Legislature to raise taxes,  and make it harder to build a new international bridge in Detroit. Three other questions have already been approved for the ballot. The deadline to finalize the ballot is a week away," Rick Pluta reports.

Detroit police pay cuts

"The city of Detroit can move forward on cutting police officers' pay by 10 percent and implementing 12-hour work shifts. Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen MacDonald lifted an injunction Thursday, allowing Detroit to impose $75 million in police cuts. City leaders say the cuts are necessary to help trim the budget deficit.
Detroit Police Officers Association President Joe Duncan filed a lawsuit to stop the pay cuts and longer work shifts. Police Chief Ralph Godbee says about 1,500 patrol officers will work the longer shifts in an effort to cut costs, while keeping more officers on city streets," Vince Duffy reports.

Mitten fight makes money

"A good-natured PR war between Michigan and Wisconsin has won a national award. Last December, Wisconsin began using a brown knitted mitten in its winter tourism campaign. That prompted an outcry from many in Michigan, who consider this the true mitten state. The two states' travel associations used the publicity to raise money to buy mittens and gloves for those in need. This week a national travel association gave both states an award for the effort. According to the association the controversy resulted in 17-milion dollar worth of free media coverage," Lindsey Smith reports.

Mayor's Office / City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says a judge’s order blocking 12-hour shifts for police officers will make it harder to balance the budget and keep the city safe.

"Absolutely. No doubt about it," he said. "I think some of the initiatives that we were putting forward was for two different reasons – once again, to make sure we stay within our budget, but also to keep as many police officers on the street as we possibly could and keeping them in the neighborhoods. So this doesn’t help."

Detroit police officers have won a day in court—and the temporary suspension of new contract terms that were set to go into effect in the coming week.

The case’s legal outcome could have major implications for Detroit’s consent agreement with the state.

Mayor Dave Bing imposed new contract terms on most city employees, including police, last month.

Those changes included a 10% pay cut, and throwing out old work rules—which led the department to implement new 12-hour shifts for officers.

Detroit’s Financial Advisory Board is charged with ensuring the city’s financial viability--and has sweeping powers to do that under the city’s consent agreement with Lansing.

But at a board meeting Monday, some Detroit police officers pleaded with the board to consider the human cost of their actions.

Like most city employees, most police officers are about to get hit with a 10% pay cut.

They also face other cutbacks and major changes—including working twelve-hour shifts—as the department, and the city, try to re-align in the face of major budget cuts.

The Detroit City Council has rejected an effort to put a public safety millage on the November ballot.

The Detroit Police Department pushed hard for the five-year millage. It would have raised $56 million over five years to put 500 more “boots on the ground,” in Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee’s words.

But the Council rejected the effort by a 7-2 vote.

Several hundred Detroit police officers, firefighters and other municipal union members have rallied in protest of wage and benefits cuts called for in new city contracts.

Holding aloft some signs that read: "Highest Crime Rate. Lowest Pay," workers, retirees and their supporters marched today around City Hall.

The rally was organized by Detroit police unions.

Mayor Dave Bing imposed new contracts on unions whose previous deals expired June 30. Salaries will be cut by 10 percent, and employees must come up with 20 percent of their medical costs.

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Rumors are running rampant in the Detroit Police Department after the city imposed a pay cut and changes to work rules on most officers.

That’s according to officers who spoke privately about what those changes will do to the city’s long-troubled police force.

Just before Mayor Dave Bing imposed the new contract terms, including a 10 percent pay cut, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. praised his officers for their dedication.

“They could do other things," Godbee said. "Nobody has checked it in, nobody has hung up their badge and gun at the door.”

Flickr user Miss Lauralee

A new program in Detroit is taking a creative approach to helping former inmates improve their lives. That approach involves pairing two groups of people who often don't trust one another: former inmates and police officers.

Jessica Taylor came up with the idea for the mentorship program called New Beginnings. She’s Executive Director of Chance for Life, a non-profit that helps inmates transition back into the community after they've been released.

As part of the mentorship program, officers drive the men to counseling appointments and recovery programs. They help the men obtain birth certificates and social security cards. The pairs also take part in social activities, like going to ball games.

At first, Taylor says it was a tough sell to both groups. But after a few months of spending time together, she says the men consider each other friends, and some even consider one another family.

Taylor says if you want to make communities safer, you have to engage the people who make them unsafe, and you have to involve the police. She hopes to expand the program in the near future.

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing joined other city and law enforcement officials to break ground on the city’s future public safety headquarters Tuesday.

The former MGM Grand Casino and another building will get a $60 million makeover before it’s slated to open next year.

The renovated complex will house Detroit’s Police, Fire, EMS, and Homeland Security departments. There are also plans to put a Michigan State Police crime lab there.

Bing says the new set-up will help the city’s crime-fighting efforts.

Update 1:55 p.m.

The Detroit News reports that three police officers have been temporarily quarantined, including the officer who handled the letter and two who were in the immediate vicinity.

The News quotes Inspector Don Johnson of the Homeland Security Unit of the Detroit Police Department:

"The officer who was exposed doesn't appear to be in any pain or distress at this time. At this point, we are treating it more as a hazmat situation rather than a bomb situation."

1:15 p.m.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are responding to a situation at a Detroit Police Station.

The police station at the corner of Schaefer and Grand River was evacuated and a Hazmat team dispatched after a suspicious powder fell out of a mailed envelope.  The envelope had no return address.

Hazmat crews are still analyzing the substance.