Chief Craig hiring civilians to handle dispatch

Chief Craig hiring civilians to handle dispatch putting more officers on the streets

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(WJBK) -

"When a community member calls 911 we want to make sure that call is handled properly," Detroit Police Chief James Craig reassures.

He is in the midst of overhauling parts of the police department he says just don't work - and dispatch is one of them.

Detroit is one of the only cities still using sworn police officers as dispatchers. Now Chief Craig is bringing in civilians to tackle that job.

"For me, civilianization means we can focus on putting sworn officers in the field,"

And those civilians will go through a training program. The department's hired 15 dispatchers this month and they'll gradually hire about 85 more. Chief Craig says the department's already reducing response times and this change could lead to more improvements.

"We're passionate about making a difference in Detroit and we are making that difference and it does not happen by accident. And I will tell you that I'm excited."

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