Detroit police chief: 'Tremendous' change is coming

James Craig covers lot of ground in first media briefing

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

DETROIT - Detroit's new police on Friday said "tremendous" change is coming.

During his first media briefing since starting the job July 1, James Craig spent an hour going over everything from crime stats to the work a consulting team is doing within the department to his relationship with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

He also revealed one of his biggest concerns for his department: 365 officers are wearing expired bullet-proof vests.

Craig said he's already been in talks with Orr about filling orders for new ones.

Craig said he has an "outstanding" relationship with Orr.

"He is doing everything he possibly can to make sure this department works," Craig said.

Take-home vehicles:

Craig said he is moving quickly on cracking down on officers take-home vehicles. He said he's concerned that too much city-purchased gas is being used personally.

Starting immediately, Craig said he would be the only one approving any department member to take a vehicle home.

"I'm keenly aware of waste. We will eliminate waste," he said.

He also said he's reassigning an officer whose previous responsibilities were to only make sure vehicles were gassed up and clean.

Update on radio outage:

Last Friday, Detroit's police, fire and EMS were hit with an outage of radio communications.

At the time, Craig blamed the city's vendor, Motorola, for failing to maintain a backup system that failed.

After more than eight hours, the departments were getting by with the help of Michigan State Police.

On Friday, Craig said things were still not back to 100 percent but that Motorola was being very helpful in making sure the problem was corrected.

Craig said a new hardware module was set to be installed by Monday.

Craig said the city spends about $1.4 million on a maintenance insurance policy with Motorola and both sides would be improving their accountability to make sure it's executed.

Going forward:

Craig said he'll begin to hold media briefings twice a month.

"People want to see Detroit win," Craig said. "And I'm excited."

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