Bing's latest police plan: Operation blah, blah, blah - KMSP-TV

Bing's latest police plan: Operation blah, blah, blah

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DETROIT -

Imagine Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic summoning his pursers to the wheelhouse after his ill-fated ship struck the iceberg.

"Quickly gentlemen!" he shouts. "Rearrange the deck chairs. Perhaps no one will notice!"

That's the feeling one gets aboard the USS Detroit, with Skipper Dave at the helm. Bing was AWOL last week, on shore leave apparently.

He left command of the sinking ship to the deputy mayor. No that's not correct. There is no deputy mayor.

He left command to the chief operating officer then. Not that's not right either. There is no chief operating officer. Nor is there a chief administrative officer. Nor a director of public safety. The chief of police is a short-timer. So, in fact, is the mayor himself.

But that didn't stop Hizzoner from holding yet another gaseous press conference when he got back from his five-day cruise announcing yet another initiative to bolster public safety. I couldn't make it. I had to pick up my dry cleaning.

Anyhow, this one is called Detroit One – in short, the Detroit police working with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies will flood the zone of crime hotspots, arrest bad guys with guns and have the feds prosecute them. Sounds a lot like a bunch of other initiatives I've heard from the city hall bunker over the last year.

Just off the top of my head there was Operation 48205 and Operation Hemingway IV; there have been police restructuring's up the wazoo including 12-hour shifts and Operation Inside/Out, described as an attempt to get the doughnut eaters off the desks and back into patrol cars. None of these had any appreciable effect on crime.

To date there have been 70 homicides in Detroit. Last year at this time there were 73. A statistical dead heat.

What junior officers tell me is simple: the plan is garbage. What the department needs, they say, is a complete management overhaul. There is no computer generated statistical analysis. No citywide gun squad. We have extra officers assigned to homicide who have not received homicide training. In short there is no proactive policing strategy designed to prevent crime, only half-baked plans  to respond to it.

Equipment? Stop by any of the city's service yards and you will see dozens of broken down police cars. (Play the video in the player on the upper right side of this page to see cell phone video of from one of the lots housing the broken down cars.)

Hang out on the city streets and you will often see as few as three squad cars working a precinct. Officers spend two hours of their shifts back at the station houses typing out reports because they can't do it from their cars.

Operation Blah Blah Blah. I suppose Bing has to justify his salary somehow to Kevyn Orr, the new emergency manager who will inherit the city on March 28th. Orr says public safety is his number one priority. If that's true, he should not follow the mayor's broken compass.  He should bring in outsiders. He should reach down into the ranks where there a plenty of committed, dedicated and educated officers in the DPD who aren't politically connected.

If he doesn't, brace yourself for another game of musical deck chairs and head for the life boats. 

 

 

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