DETROIT – Creating a safer city for all was the topic of discussion at a special meeting Thursday night, where community members came together with city leaders and law enforcement officials to talk about solutions.
Thursday’s town hall featured 200 or more residents, Detroit police, clergy, and advocates working towards the same goal.
The town hall was the first of its kind, packed with people looking for solutions to the violence impacting so many in Detroit.
“What we came here tonight to do was to strategize and come up with some resolve on what we can do,” said a man.
“I don’t care how many officers you hire as it’s always going to be more civilians than officers,” said George Ward of Ceasefire Detroit. “So what are we going to do as a community to stop what’s going on?”
A grim reminder of what drove people to pack the room in the first place was displayed outside as tombstones marked the lives lost to violence in the city.
“I will never become desensitized to a child losing their lives in our city when I know there’s so much more we can do,” said Detroit Police Chief James White.
White brought the panel of mental health professionals, faith and elected leaders, and community ambassadors together and to the people.
ShotSpotter was among the topics discussed, and how that technology could make a difference and perhaps would have for a little girl who was killed by a bullet fired by a group of teens playing with a gun.
“Had there been ShotSpotter, we would’ve responded to the first time they shot in the air, but there wasn’t, and we didn’t,” White said.
Cornelius Wells and other street leaders brought several young people to participate in the discussion that was taking place Thursday. Wells left feeling like there was more he wanted to hear.
“Lets engage our community,” said Wells of Detroit Friends and Family. “The poverty is driving us to these crimes. Let’s deal with that.”
City Council President, Mary Sheffield was among those in attendance. She said she’s listening to all sides of the ShotSpotter debate and also wants to make sure that community based intervention efforts are supported as well.
Council will decide whether to fund the expansion of ShotSpotter next week.