Restructuring to Detroit Police Department making community uneasy

Students, community leaders fear dismantling special Detroit police units, such as Gang Squad, would increase violence at school, in neighborhoods

Author: Sandra Ali, Local 4 Reporter, Anchor, @SandraAliTV, sali@wdiv.com
Published On: Feb 14 2013 10:38:00 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 15 2013 04:08:23 AM EST
DETROIT -

Police, students and community leaders went to send a message Thursday to the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners.

They made it clear they are opposed to the city's new plan to restructure the Police Department, which includes dismantling special units such as the Gang Squad.

"But if we see it leave we believe that there is going to be an increase in gang violence," said Meghan Everett, of Denby High School.

Police Sgt. Brandon Cole's unit, the Tactical Mobile Unit in Northwestern Detroit, is of those set to be eliminated. City leaders announced last month a plan that would dismantle the Gang Squad and tactical mobile units and use the officers to help beef-up street patrols.

Officers at the meeting Thursday night do not think it is a good idea.

"When citizens need help they call police. When police need help they call Tact Mobile. If you disband this unit they have no help," said Cole.

Denby High School students lined up to take turns, urging the Board to reconsider and keep the Gang Squad. They believe if it is eliminated they will see a surge of violence at school.

"I have already lost friends to gang violence, like either they are gone or in jail, and I have never seem them again. It's really not just my friends, it's my family, too," said Randy Grier, a student at the high school.

Detroit Police Chief Chester Logan said the first phase of the restructuring plan will add at least 100 more officers to street patrols.