Detroit mayor: 100 officers will be redeployed
Dave Bing discuss city's crime rate, restructuring plan for embattled police department
About 100 Detroit police officers would be redeployed under a restructuring plan city officials announced Wednesday that aims to prevent street crimes while boosting the ranks of homicide investigators.
Detroit's Gang Squad and Tactical Mobile Unit will be eliminated, Interim Police Chief Chester Logan said Wednesday during a press briefing. Officers assigned to those units will make up about 100 who will be redeployed to the streets, traffic enforcement and the often-overtaxed work of homicide investigators.
The changes will start in March and the plan is to have more than 80 percent of the department out on patrol and only 5 percent on desk duty.
"If we can't hire more police officers than we need to mobilize and re-deploy the resources that we have in this department," said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.
Last year, Detroit recorded 386 criminal homicides --a 12 percent increase over 2011.
"This makes sure resources are properly utilized and that every person who can be put on patrol" is out on the streets, Logan said.
Overall crime in the city was down in 2012, but high-profile street robberies, carjacking's and shootings outside gas stations increased the public's call for more police protection. But the city has been unable to hire more officers as it tries to climb out of mounds of debt and a budget deficit of more than $300 million.
Not everyone thinks restructuring is a good idea.
"I'm concerned about the officers well being that's going on the street, in many cases a lot of these officers are not physically in shape to be reunited with street activity," said retired DPD officer Kato Davis.
A state-appointed team also is reviewing Detroit's finances to determine if the city is in a financial emergency that could lead to state oversight.
Placing more officers on street patrol and in investigations should increase the department's ability to close cases and better link gun-related crimes, Mayor Dave Bing said.
Shootings accounted for 333 of last year's criminal homicides -- up from 302 in 2011 and 254 in 2010.
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Logan said the plan will have 80 percent of the city's police officers performing patrol duties, while 15 percent will focus on investigations. Only 5 percent will be assigned to administrative jobs, Logan said.
The elimination of the Gang Squad is not expected to hamper the department's gang investigations. Those will be run through precincts and district headquarters.
The restructuring plan announced Wednesday followed a review of the roles and responsibilities of officers throughout the department.
Meanwhile, Bing has been criticized by the police union for a 10 percent pay cut and the switch to 12-hour work days for some officers.
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