DETROIT – Authorities in Metro Detroit are skeptical of the Minneapolis City Council plan to disband the city’s police department.
“Certainly they have probably the right to opt out of having a police department,” Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said. “They question is: What are they going to do as an alternative?”
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Napoleon has been in law enforcement for decades, and he said he’s not surprised there’s a serious effort in Minneapolis to get rid of the city’s police department, citing a major breakdown in trust.
But who do residents call when they need help? Ideas were floated out, such as social workers responding to domestic violence calls instead of police officers.
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“From my 45-plus years of experience, going after murderers and rapists and child molesters, gangbangers, carjackers and folks who are very violent in this community -- I’d like to see who they would suggest go after those folks,” Napoleon said.
Right now, there’s a call from protesters to defund the Detroit Police Department.
“People in the city of Detroit want their police department,” Detroit police Chief James Craig said.
Craig said he is open to changing his department by investing in mental health support for officers and getting the officers and citizens who have had major run-ins together for discussions.
“If you’re here to make a statement like you feel the department should be dismantled, what are you going to replace it with?” Craig said. “What is the plan?”
Craig said he feels there will be reform or restructuring of police departments in Minneapolis and across the country.