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Detroit Police Department creates new office to strengthen community relations

New department aimed at increasing officer support, addressing community concerns

DETROIT – The Detroit Police Department is making moves to strengthen its relationship with the community amid a difficult and unsteady year.

The department is creating a new office aimed at bringing together officers and citizens following local and national unrest over police brutality and racism.

Detroit has seen numerous protests since the end of May, but most did not turn violent or out of hand. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has credited the relationship that the city has with its police department for the largely peaceful protests and interactions with protesters.

Some protests in the city did not end peacefully, however, with violence erupting between police and demonstrators. Violence at Detroit protests included police deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and arresting numerous demonstrators. Primarily, though, protests in Detroit and the surrounding areas have remained peaceful over the summer.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says that citizens who have had any negative experience with Detroit police can present their concerns to the new department, which will then work to address those issues.

The new department -- named the office of internal and external relations -- will also serve as a support resource for officers on issues like racial equity and peer support.

“This office will expand both the internal operations of officer support, and external efforts of procedural justice and policing legitimacy through community engagement,” Craig said.

The police chief says that increased officer support has proven essential, especially for officers who are on scene at what are considered “critical incidents.”


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