Southfield police launch initiative to focus on quality of life issues

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Changes in the Southfield Police Department mean officers there are going to be focusing more efforts on quality of life issues.

Southfield police Chief Elvin Barren, a former deputy chief from Detroit, said they’ll still be handling major incidents and violent crimes but the policy changes reflect what residents are asking for.

Police launched the Community Harms Directed Policing strategy on Wednesday. What that means is the department is going to be focusing on what’s known as quality of life crimes, issues affecting everyday residents.

“When you talk to residents at community meetings they don’t mention much about violent crime, they don’t mention property crime, they’ll mention quality of life issues,” Barren said.

The initiative focuses on domestic violence, traffic safety, active shooter preparedness, youth engagement, human trafficking and illegal drug use.

For domestic violence police have engaged in an enhanced partnership with HAVEN, a group working with survivors.

“One in three Michigan families right now is experiencing domestic violence. I promise you, you know them, you love them and you care for them,” Melissa Sinclair with HAVEN said.

The new policy said officers must arrest someone if there’s probable cause of an attack, even if the victim doesn’t want to press charges.

“A lot of people are afraid and so heat of the moment, passion, a lot of incidents involving domestic violence surround infidelity, finances, children. So, the policy dictates that we remove that person,” Barren said.

Barren has been working as chief for half a year and the direction he’s focusing on, as residents see it, is to bring back the village.

“This is promoting the village, this is bringing it back, it should have never left. Because I’m a product of the village and so are a lot of my peers in this room today so we know what it’s like to have it and we can see what happens when it disappeared. That’s why you have all these issues and problems,” community member Margaret Hall said.

Barren also said he’s big on accountability and will welcome questions measuring these policy changes.

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