DPD forming new tactical unit, chief welcomes gifts from Big 3

DPD forming new tactical unit; chief welcomes gifts from Big 3 automakers

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Detroit Police Chief James Craig Detroit Police Chief James Craig
DETROIT (WJBK) -

In a straight talk news conference, Detroit Police Chief James Craig talked "gang squad," new police cars and challenged the Big Three to step up to the plate.

"Status quo, no sense of urgency, no accountability, those are the kind of things that I'm committed to changing," Craig said.

The police chief addressed losing a $400,000 grant that could have paid for a new Street Response Team tactical vehicle.

"For whatever reason, we decide and let the grant lapse, and at the last minute, a local law enforcement partner took advantage of it," he said.

Craig said that type of thing won't happen on his watch. Thursday, he announced sweeping changes, starting with accountability in his own department. Two DPD officers were suspended. They are accused of using excessive force on a dog.

"The preliminary investigation reveals several departmental policy violations and possible criminal behavior," the chief said. "The matter will be forwarded to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for review."

Craig is also making sweeping staffing changes starting with his own office. He is  reassigning police officers who are working as technicians and in maintenance to save money. He is advising all precincts do the same.

"Take a look at your commands, start identifying police officers that are working in clerical positions and make a decision because there will come a time I will make that decision for them very soon, and we'll start pushing more officers in the field," Craig said.

Soon DPD will roll out a unit called the Tactical Service Section or TSS, which will have a gang intelligence function. Officers hand selected to be on that task force will work in high crime neighborhoods and on special assignments such as carjackings, which is a top priority through a renewed partnership with H.E.A.T.

Soon Detroit will have a fleet of new police cars thanks to a gift from a downtown Detroit partnership. Craig said more gifts are welcome.

"I'd welcome any other gifts that Ford, General Motors or Chrysler would like to give to the City of Detroit to help us augment our fleet," the chief said. "We are the Motor City and one of the most watched cities in America. Shouldn't we have a fleet that represents this city."

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