STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Sterling Heights police are trying to stop crimes before they happen, and they’re doing it with a new unit in the department.
The new unit has led to nearly two dozen felony arrests and hundreds of traffic stops in the last month. One case this previous week led to the discovery of a gun and taser.
The Directed Patrol Unit (created this year) is a group of officers who are targeting hotspots, and in this case, a traffic stop led to weapons being taken off the streets.
“This is exactly what we want the Directed Patrol Unit doing, and we’ve been doing this since July,” said Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski.
A five-member team comprises the newly formed Directed Patrol Unit.
“These officers are not assigned 911 calls,” Dwojakowski said. “Their job is to float the city looking for suspicious, dangerous things, and that’s exactly what happened on Friday night.”
Those officers found a gun, multiple magazines, and a taser during a traffic stop last Friday (Aug. 12).
“This is why we really stress proactive enforcement,” Dwojakowski said. “If you see something unusual, stop the car, talk to the person and see what’s going on.”
During the stoppage, police found a gun and several magazines hidden behind the driver’s seat, including an extended magazine capable of holding up to 30 rounds.
Police say the woman had outstanding warrants and did not have a license or permit for the weapon.
They found the taser in the driver’s side door.
“This is what you want police officers doing,” Dwojakowski said. “It’s called proactive patrol, and unfortunately, not a lot of cities are so strapped for police officers that they don’t have a lot of officers on the road. They go from run to run to run.”
The Directed Patrol Unit was created last month after Sterling Heights police closed their departmental jail. If you’re arrested in Sterling Heights, you’re now transported to the Macomb County Jail.
The decision saved the department $700,000.
The chief hired seven new officers, two for community services and five for the Directed Patrol Unit.
He says the results speak for themself.
“It just been over a month, and we already have 20 plus good arrests, you know, felony arrests, hundreds of traffic stops, and this is exactly what we want to have happen,” Dwojakowski said.
That Detroit woman was taken into custody and is now facing weapons charges.